BOSTON — Sunday’s series finale between the Orioles and the Red Sox can only be described in one way: sloppy.
It wasn’t just the weather, which induced a 42-minute rain delay before the start and forced the grounds crew to have to rake on drying compounds between every inning. Eventually, the rain became too much again, adding a 1-hour, 28-minute delay with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
The Orioles, when they were able to take the field, were messy. They had three errors, including one in the sixth that led to the Red Sox’s 7-3 win.
“Played in terrible conditions all day,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “They wanted to start the game in that type of environment, they got it. Unfortunately we didn’t play very well today.”
The Orioles, despite dropping Sunday’s game, still leave Boston with a series win and wrap up their three-city road trip 7-2. They return to Baltimore on Monday to begin a seven-game homestand, starting with three against the Cardinals. The Orioles (90-52) need at most five wins to clinch their first playoff spot since 2016.
“We played seven excellent games on this trip,” Hyde said. “Super happy and proud of what we did on this trip.”
Grayson Rodriguez had his shortest start since returning to the majors in July, making it just 4 1/3 innings. He wasn’t his sharpest, allowing seven hits and giving up two earned runs.
“Felt like my first time at Fenway would have been a little bit drier,” he said. “It’s just something you have to deal with.”
The Orioles scored three runs in the third, but, thanks to their defense, they quickly watched their lead slip away.
The first of the Orioles’ costly errors came in the third. Rodriguez walked Rafael Devers and gave up a single to Justin Turner to open the inning. Triston Casas lined it to third baseman Ramon Urías, who made contact with the ball but couldn’t make the play. Instead, the ball kept rolling out to the left field corner, and Devers and Casas scored to cut the Orioles’ lead to one.
The Red Sox took a 4-3 lead in the sixth – the Orioles, known for their comeback wins, still easily within striking distance. But Cole Irvin, who took over for Rodriguez, hit Reese McGuire to open the frame. Then Ryan O’Hearn let the ball slip between his legs, resulting in another error and another man on base for the Red Sox. Soon, Casas homered and the one-run lead became four.
The Orioles offense, which scored 24 runs in the first two games in Boston, had no answer in the top of the seventh or eighth before the game went into yet another delay.
When the game resumed, so did the sloppy play. Ceddanne Rafaela stole second, then advanced to third on a throwing error from Adley Rutschman. This one didn’t end up coming back to hurt the Orioles, as Turner lined out to end the inning. The Orioles went down in order in the top of the ninth, the game ending 10 minutes after it resumed.
“I don’t expect that to happen again,” Rodriguez said of the three errors. “Our defense has been one of the better things about this team. It’s just one of those days. Obviously field conditions weren’t right. It makes it really hard on them. A lot of wet baseballs, a lot of weird baseballs. That’s not something you should expect.”