BOSTON -- The bullpen door opened, and Jonathan Papelbon’s ominous trademark music -- "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys -- was blaring over the speakers at Fenway Park as the closer ran toward the mound.
But there was no game to close Tuesday night, just a game to finish out for an inning of work.
And for Papelbon, it turned into a nightmare. Already down by four runs entering the ninth, Papelbon quickly coughed up four runs and five hits on only 18 pitches in an ugly inning that included a throwing error by third baseman Adrian Beltre and ultimately contributed to a 9-1 loss to the Orioles. It was the most hits ever allowed by Papelbon in a relief outing.
Papelbon hadn’t pitched in six days, so he was called upon in a non-save situation.
“It’s a different mindset coming in with a save [on the line], but that doesn’t affect the way you throw the ball,” said Papelbon, whose earned run average zoomed from 3.39 to 3.92.
“I thought I threw the ball well. I thought the ball came out of my hand well. They came out swinging the bats. They were ambushing the first pitch. There’s nothing you can do about that. The outcome wasn’t what you’d like, but I thought I threw the ball well.”
Papelbon had a chance to save himself a run. With runners at first and third and one out, Felix Pie hit a dribbler toward the mound. Papelbon didn’t look at home and elected to throw to first. It appeared as if when the out was made at first Papelbon started to head to the dugout, seemingly thinking there were three outs.
He insisted that wasn’t the case.
“I’m trying to get outs there,” Papelbon said. “He was probably going to be safe at the plate. I was trying to get outs. I was already in knee-deep so why throw to the plate when I thought he was going to be safe.”
Atchison no relief
Scott Atchison had been unscored upon in his last 7 2/3 innings over a span of five outings.
That streak came to a crashing halt.
With the game tied, 1-1, in the seventh, Atchison faced four batters, and when he trudged off the mound, having been lifted by manager Terry Francona, the Sox were trailing, 4-1.
“I’ve got to come in and keep it 1-1 and give our offense a chance. Tonight I didn’t do it. He [Wigginton] hit a decent pitch in the right spot,” said Atchison.
Clipping the Birds
Clay Buchholz has given up only one earned run in his last 28 innings against the Orioles . . . Ryan Kalish almost gave the Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but his blast into the triangle, with Jed Lowrie at first and two outs, hopped onto the warning track and into the seats for a ground-rule double, forcing Lowrie to stop at third. Daniel Nava, who drove in Boston’s only run, then took a called third strike, stranding both runners . . . Down by 4-1 in the seventh, David Ortiz, batting a mere .207 against left-handed pitchers, took a called third strike from lefty Mike Gonzalez with two out and runners at first and second, ending Boston’s final threat . . . The appearance by Papelbon was his 328th, moving him past Cy Young and into seventh place on the Sox’s all-time list . . . Hideki Okajima made his 250th appearance for the Sox, stretching his scoreless streak to 10 innings over his last 12 outings. He has retired the last 11 batters he has faced.