With three hits, including a home run by rookie Ryan Mountcastle, on the first three pitches they saw Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, the Orioles looked liable to start scoring and simply never stop.
It turned out to be the Red Sox who wouldn’t let up. Just as quickly as the Orioles built an early lead, Boston erased it and eventually cruised to a 9-3 victory before an announced 30,027 on a clear day in Boston.
It didn’t get much better for the Orioles (47-101) than the first three pitches of the game, when Cedric Mullins singled, Mountcastle hit his team-high 30th home run of the season and Anthony Santander singled. They stranded two that inning, though, and Boston matched their prolific start by smacking five hits in its first seven plate appearances against left-hander Zac Lowther, including a two-run double by Bobby Dalbec that reversed the Orioles’ early lead.
Austin Wynns hit his fourth home run of the season to tie the game in the second, but the Orioles were shut down from there. They stranded five runners along the way, but the game was only close enough for it to matter for a few more frames.
Lowther retired eight straight after the early hit barrage, then walked two in the fourth and was pulled for Conner Greene, who stranded those runners. Fellow rookie Mike Baumann, in his third career outing, allowed a run in the fifth and four in the sixth, including a three-run homer by Xander Bogaerts that put the game out of reach.
Lowther and Baumann, two of the organization’s well-regarded high-minors pitching prospects entering the season, have each taken their lumps so far in the majors. Lowther’s ERA went from 9.92 to 9.61 on Saturday after he allowed seven base runners and recorded 10 outs. Baumann has allowed 11 earned runs on 12 hits in two outings since he debuted with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief on Sept. 7 against Kansas City.
Fernando Abad allowed a run in the seventh to make it 9-3 and make Boston the fourth American League East opponent to score at least 100 runs on the Orioles. The only other time that happened was in 2019. After sweeping the season-opening series against Boston, the Orioles have lost 11 of 12 against them, allowing six runs or more in nine of those games.
30-30 a home run away
Mullins’ leadoff single was his first of two Saturday, though Mountcastle’s home run on the next pitch — which made him the first Orioles rookie to hit 30 after breaking Cal Ripken Jr.’s record of 28 — meant he didn’t have the chance to try to steal a base. He did after Mountcastle’s second-inning single, though, taking second base for his 29th steal of the season with Mountcastle at the plate.
With the infield shifted the other way for Santander one batter later, Mullins jogged to third base without a throw while time was called, only to be sent back by home plate umpire Bill Miller. Mullins stole third seconds later for No. 30.
Mullins is the 21st Oriole with at least 30 steals in a season since the team moved to Baltimore, with Jonathan Villar the most recent with 40 in 2019. His next home run will give him the Orioles’ first 30-30 season since 1954.
Struggling through September
The Orioles were at full strength Friday with Trey Mancini (oblique), Ramón Urías (groin) and Pedro Severino (groin) all in the lineup — but their absences Saturday showed those days are rare.
All three sat Saturday for the day game after a night game, and manager Brandon Hyde said that will be required for each player the rest of the way.
“We’ve got two weeks to go,” Hyde said. “Probably not going to clear up overnight, so it’s going to be something that’s going to linger until the end of the year for all of those guys. We’re just going to have to try to manage and monitor and give guys rest when they need it.”
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.
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