Thanks to a bounce-back outing from their best starter of the young season – right-hander David Hess – the Orioles were still in touch with the Boston Red Sox when they collected their first hit of the game with two outs in the fifth inning.
But even with a two-run home run from Dwight Smith Jr. pulling them within a run in the seventh inning and Renato Nunez's two-run home run in the ninth, the Orioles' late-game fight wasn't enough to prevent a 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox before an announced crowd of 33,668 at Fenway Park on Friday night.
The loss was the Orioles' fourth straight, and they've dropped eight of nine since their improbable 4-1 start. And for the fourth time in 14 games, they took a while to get it going.
Hess, who had the home-run bug in his most recent start at Camden Yards as so many of the Orioles had on the recent homestand, allowed a two-out home run to Andrew Benintendi in the third inning, an RBI double to Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single by Eduardo Nunez two batters later.
But the Red Sox didn't have much to show for all the hard contact. It was 3-0 in the fifth inning when the Orioles finally put a blemish on the line of their former prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez didn't allow a hit until a two-out single by Hanser Alberto – who also broke up a no-hitter in the sixth inning on Sunday against the New York Yankees – and was cruising when Trey Mancini doubled past a leaping Mookie Betts in the seventh. Two batters later, Smith hit his second home run in as many days to chase Rodriguez, and the Orioles stranded the tying run against the Red Sox bullpen.
They wouldn't get that close again, as Boston tacked on a run in the seventh against Paul Fry and two in the eighth against Evan Phillips.
That was plenty to beat an Orioles offense that, after collecting four hits apiece in losses Wednesday and Thursday, had just four hits Friday. At 113 mph off the bat, according to MLB's Statcast data, Eduardo Nunez's home run in the ninth was the hardest-hit ball of the Orioles' season.
Chris Davis pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth and lined out into the shift. He was trying to end his 0-for-53 run at the plate over his last 61 plate appearances over two seasons.