Morales, Red Sox stumble in extra innings loss to Orioles

BOSTON –The celebrating will need to wait at least another night as the Red Sox could’ve cliched a playoff berth with a win as the Indians fell to the Royals, but the Sox couldn’t come through with a timely hit as they fell to the Orioles 5-3 in 12 innings Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Despite the loss, the Red Sox will be able to clinch a playoff berth with a win Thursday night.

With the game knotted at three in the 12th, reliever Franklin Morales loaded the bases with one out. After forcing a foul out to Manny Machado he looked primed to get out of the jam, but a Chris Davis single up the middle eluded Dustin Pedroia’s dive, which scored two runs and gave the Orioles their second straight win, and second straight win in come-from-behind fashion. Morales pitched a scoreless 11th inning before his hiccup in the 12th.

“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities,” manager John Farrell said. “Men in scoring position they would make a key pitch. We grounded into four double plays. A lot of good things went on in this game. I thought overall offensively, again, we put a number of guys on base, but they made a key pitch in a key moment and the ground ball double plays speak to that. They get ground balls straight to guys and we get a ground ball just past the outstretched arm of [Pedroia] and the two out base hit was the difference in this one.”

Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief despite the loss.

The Red Sox took a quick 2-0 lead on a two-run homer from David Ortiz in the first inning scoring Shane Victorino, who had singled in the at-bat prior. Then, trailing 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, Mike Napoli crushed a solo home run to dead center field, tying the game at three at the time.

Red Sox starter Jake Peavy was very good early on, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning and striking out eight, but things began to unravel in that fifth inning. Danny Valencia singled to lead off the inning followed by a Matt Wieters double, which scored Valencia. Brian Roberts followed two batters later with a double of his own, scoring Wieters and tying the game at two. The Orioles took a 3-2 lead at the time in the sixth on three straight hits with two outs. Peavy finished the night going seven innings allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight.

The teams will close out their three-game series tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) where John Lackey will be opposed by Chris Tillman.

What they’ll be saying: It was a frustrating offensive night for the Red Sox as they just couldn’t come up with a timely hit. In the last four innings they had the lead-off man reach, but came away with nothing to show for it. They finished the game 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. Their 15 hits were the most in a loss since August of last season and their three runs were the fewest in a game with at least 15 hits since 1983 … Victorino had another good night going 3-for-5 and is now hitting .402 with a .470 OBP since July 30 at home. He was pinch-hit for in the 12th inning because of what Farrell called a jammed right thumb … It was a good night for Will Middlebrooks as he entered the game 0 for his last 17, but went 3-for-4 with a walk.


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