Nine to Know: Orioles top Boston, 9-6, in 17 innings

  1. The win on Sunday completed Baltimore’s first sweep at Fenway Park since June 10, 11, 12, 1994. Cal Ripken was 5-for 12 in that series. The only similarity was that in each series a McDonald got a decision in the final game. Ben McDonald picked up the win in ’94 for the Orioles and Darnell McDonald was stuck with the loss for Boston in yesterday’s finale. The Orioles finished at 63-49, in second place, in that lock-out shortened season. The 2012 Baltimores are now 19-9 with a .679 winning percentage, the best record in baseball. The Orioles outscored the Sox 23-12 in the 39-inning three game set. The O’s won in 13 innings Friday night and have now won four straight extra-inning tilts all away from Camden Yards.

    Winning pitcher for the Orioles, DH Chris Davis

  2. Baltimore and Boston each used eight pitchers before going to DH Chris Davis and PR-DH Darnell McDonald. McDonald came in the game in the 8th to run for DH David Ortiz. Both Davis and McDonald hit like pitchers in the game. McDonald was 1-for-4 with one strikeout and a game-ending GIDP against Davis. Davis was 0-for-8 and his first six times to the plate he struck out five times and hit into double play. He ground out his last two times at the plate including ending the top of the 17th against McDonald. Davis became the first winning pitcher to go 0-for-8 since Rube Waddell on July 4, 1905 when he topped Cy Young (who invented the Award).
  3. Orioles hurlers threw 273 pitches, 171 for strikes. Boston’s guys threw 297 pitches, 176 for strikes. Tommy Hunter was the Orioles starter and had his shortest outing of the season allowing five runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. The Red Sox have a much bigger problem by the name of starter Clay Buchholz. Buchholz went 3.2 innings allowing five runs, on seven hits and four walks and became the first Red Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing went eight consecutive games from 6/27/1925 to 7/28/1925  to allow five earned runs or more in six consecutive games. Ruffing’s streak ended July 28 but that’s only because in his next game, on August 1, while he allowed five runs only four were earned. BTW: This season in Clay Buchholz‘s first six starts: 32.2 IP, 3-1 record, 9.09 ERA, 19 BB, 20 K, 10 HR, .343 BA. Last season in John Lackey‘s first six starts: 32.2 IP, 2-4 record, 7.16 ERA, 13 BB, 18 K, 4 HR, .317 BA
  4. The last time two teams brought in position players to pitch in the same game was Oct. 4, 1925, when Hall of Famers Ty Cobb of Detroit and George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns closed out the second game of a doubleheader on the last day of the season. Cobb had previously pitched in two games in 1918 and finished his career with five innings pitched giving up six hits, two runs and a 3.60 ERA. Sisler had been used extensively as a pitcher early in his career and ended up appearing in 24 games, starting 12 of them. He was 5-6 but had a 2.35 ERA.
  5. McDonald is generally regarded as a left fielder by the Red Sox having appeared in 66 games at that position since he joined the team in mid-2010. He, however, is far from the most famous Sox left fielder to pitch for Boston as Babe Ruth played 47 games in left for Boston in 1918 and 110 in left in 1919 But let’s not forget that on August 24, 1940, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, 21-year old Ted Williams took to the mound for the Sox in his only major league pitching appearance. He went the final two innings allowing a run on three hits in a game won by Detroit, 12-1. But there is another connection between the pitching of Ruth and Williams. Williams’ catcher was Joe Glenn who had entered the game to give Jimmie Foxx a chance to rest for the second game. Glenn was a backup catcher throughout his eight-year career for the Yankees, St. Louis Browns (yes fans, they became the Baltimore Orioles) and in his final season, with the Red Sox. It was Joe Glenn, Ted Williams personal catcher, who caught for the Yankees on October 1, 1933, the final day of that season, facing (who else?) the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks won that game 6-5 and their starting pitcher went the distance, his name was Babe Ruth in the final appearance on the mound of his career. Ruth helped his own cause in that game going 1-for-3 with his 34th homer of the season. So, Joe Glenn who managed to catch only 235 games in his career was the catcher for two of the greatest hitters the game has ever known: Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
  6. Baltimore used two non-pitchers on the mound in a 24-10 loss to Toronto on June 26, 1978, with outfielder Larry Harlow and catcher Elrod Henricks, throwing a combined three innings. However, Philadelphia infielder Wilson Valdez was the last non-pitcher to pick up a win. He threw a scoreless inning in a 19-inning victory over Cincinnati on May 25, 2011.
  7. Will Middlebrooks had the key blow for Boston bringing the locals back from a 5-1 deficit with a grand slam. In the process, he became the first Red Sox player whose first major league homer was a grand slam since Daniel Nava against Philadelphia on June 12, 2010. Up until Middlebrooks was brought up the Sox last week, he was Nava’s teammate in Pawtucket. Nava is hitting .282 for the PawSox with two homers and 13 RBI. BTW: Nava was named top independent league prospect by Baseball America and was named Golden Baseball League MVP in 2007 when he played for the Chico Outlaws.
  8. Winning pitcher Chris Davis wasn’t the only batter to go 0-for-8, he was joined by Adrian Gonzalez who became the first Red Sox cleanup hitter ever to go Gonzo-for-ocho. Davis and Gonzalez became the 11th and 12th batters to go 0-for at-least-8 since 2000. There were two last season: the Braves: Martin Prado, who went 0-9 against the Pirates last July 26 in the 19-inning game that will live in Pittsburgh infamy. The other was last July 17, when Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-8 against Tampa in the Sox 16-inning 1-0 win in Tampa. Interestingly, of the 12 who have gone at least 0-8 since 2000 four have been Red Sox. Not only that, the last time there were two in the same game was on July 9, 2006 when the White Sox beat the Red Sox, 6-5, in 19 innings and two Bostonians Jason Varitek went 0-8 and Trot Nixon went 0-9.
  9. Finally, the Red Sox finished the 2011 season 7-20 and are 11-16 this season. That 18-36 record is a .333 winning percentage. The Orioles finished 15-13 and are 19-9. That 34-22 record is a .630 winning percentage. And for those you who are fans of symmetry, the Sox lost 10 of their final 14 games at Fenway last season and have lost 10 of their first 14 this season.