The happiest player this night was Orioles starter Rich Hill, who, besides being a hometown boy (Milton, Massachusetts) got roughed for 10 runs early by his lifelong hometown team. This likely wasn’t how Hill dreamed up his first outing against the Red Sox, and though he would like to forget about it, his offense mounted a historic comeback that Orioles fans (and Hill) won’t soon forget.
Lost in all this was John Smoltz’s one run over four innings to start the game before the rain clouds came. Who knows how much different the outcome would’ve been if not for the hour-plus rain delay, which prevented Smoltz from continuing this promising outing. “Blame it on the rain,” as those famous frauds Milli Vanilli once sang.
The Red Sox would get its revenge the next day, July 1 by mounting a late comeback of its own, scoring four runs in the ninth and one more in the eleventh (courtesy of Julio Lugo) to beat the O’s 6-5. Papelbon easily sealed the deal in the bottom of the 11th for the 133rd save of his career, passing Bob Stanley’s 132 saves to became the Sox all-time leader in saves.
But Friday, July 3 turned out to be Ramon Ramirez’s turn to have an off-night, as he gave up 2 runs, 2 hits, and eventually a 2-run double to Rob Johnson (of all people) in the Red Sox’s 11-inning lost to Seattle last Friday at Fenway Park.
Saturday turned out to be an old-fashioned pitchers duel between Boston’s steady fifth starter Brad Penny and Seattle’s Garrett Olson. But again, the Boston bullpen was the difference, as Saito walked the bases loaded in the ninth, then gave up the game-winning blooper to Chris Woodward.
On the bright side, Masterson and Okajima recovered on Saturday (in relief of Penny) and Sunday (in relief of a red hot Jon Lester) to combine for 4 1/3 scoreless innings of work. Saito and Ramirez however, have control issues to work through if they are going to be effective again in the near future.