Red Sox swept away by O's after 17-inning loss
BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox ran out of pitchers and options, then finally luck.
The Baltimore Orioles completed a three-game sweep at Boston with a 9-6 win in 17 innings Sunday, an afternoon game that stretched well into the evening.
In the first major league game since 1925 in which both teams put a position player on the mound, Baltimore designated hitter Chris Davis overcame an awful day at the plate by pitching two scoreless innings and getting the win over Darnell McDonald, an outfielder Boston called upon once the Red Sox bullpen was also depleted.
"I don't like any losses. I've never found a loss that I thought was easy," manager Bobby Valentine said. "They're all difficult."
This one was especially tough - even in a place that has seen repeated historical heartbreak such as Fenway Park, where there has been little celebrating its 100th anniversary so far this season.
The Red Sox have lost five straight at home, including nine of their past 10.
"This is the big leagues. Everybody's good," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "If we don't play well, we're going to lose."
Davis went 0 for 8, striking out five times and grounding into a double play. But in a season full of surprises for the Orioles, a first baseman by trade delivered the biggest one yet in a crazy game at Fenway Park.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the 17th off McDonald.
Boston then got two runners on to start the 17th against Davis (1-0), making his pro pitching debut. With a fastball in the mid-80s mph, he struck out All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez and got McDonald to ground into a double play to end a game that lasted 6 hours, 7 minutes.
"He had pretty good stuff. He had a lot of life on his balls - more than I expected," McDonald said. "I don't know what was worse - giving up the three-run home run or grounding into a double play to end the game."
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, STATS LLC said.
The last time any position player wound up as the winning pitcher was May 25, 2011, when Philadelphia infielder Wilson Valdez threw one scoreless inning in a 19-inning victory over Cincinnati.
Baltimore and Boston each used eight pitchers before getting to Davis and McDonald.
J.J. Hardy had five hits, including two homers, as Baltimore completed a sweep and won its fifth in a row. The shortstop also made a relay to the plate that cut down the potential winning run to end the 16th.
"They made a perfect relay. Tip your hat," Pedroia said. "We were doing all we can, trying to score a run. Just didn't do it."
Robert Andino hit a three-run shot for the Orioles, who also knocked the Red Sox out of playoff contention last year in the final game of the regular season. Baltimore improved to a major league-best 19-9.
Boston rookie Will Middlebrooks hit his first major league homer, a grand slam that tied it at 5 in the fifth inning. Gonzalez finished 0 for 8.
Davis was having one of the worst games possible when Orioles manager Buck Showalter told him to go to the bullpen and begin warming up.
Mike Aviles followed with a double, but Byrd was thrown out at the plate. Jones ran down the ball in left-center field and threw a strike to Hardy, and his relay was in time as Byrd barreled into catcher Matt Wieters.
McDonald, who pitched one inning last year in his pro mound debut, took over in the 17th and walked Betemit, who was thrown out trying to steal.
Hardy doubled, Nick Markakis walked and Jones hit a drive over the left-field wall.
Boston made it 6-all in the eighth when McDonald, pinch running for David Ortiz, scored on a sacrifice fly by Saltalamacchia.
NOTES: The game was Boston's longest at home since an 18-inning win over the Tigers on June 5, 2001. ... The Red Sox placed RHP Aaron Cook on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee laceration and activated LHP Andrew Miller from the DL. ... Middlebrooks is the first Red Sox player whose first major league homer was a grand slam since Daniel Nava against Philadelphia on June 12, 2010. ... The Orioles last swept a series in Boston in June 1994.
Updated May 6, 2012