Red Sox shut down by Orioles ace, lose home opener 7-1

For all the emphasis the Red Sox have placed on becoming a better defensive team, the club continues to be plagued by sloppy play in the field.

Those ill-timed miscues reared their ugly head again in Tuesday’s home opener, and they were among the deciding factors in Boston’s 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Red Sox committed two errors and probably deserved at least two more, with the most costly sequence coming in top of the fourth inning. With Brayan Bello in full control after getting two quick outs, Rafael Devers booted a hard grounder to third and Jarren Duran lost a line drive in the sun out in left field. Either play would have ended the inning, but the Baltimore Orioles immediately made the Red Sox pay, with Colton Cowser cashing in with a two-run double to put his club up 3-1.

That was all the daylight Orioles ace Corbin Burnes needed.

Baltimore’s new ace showed why he’s an early favorite for the American League Cy Young Award, dicing up the Red Sox lineup over seven dominant innings. He allowed just one run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts, and at one point he retired 16 out of 17 Red Sox batters between the second and seventh innings.

All told, Orioles pitchers retired the last 18 Red Sox batters of the game.

Bello, meanwhile, finished with three runs (one earned) allowed over 5.1 innings, giving up four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in the process. He wasn’t dominant, but he pitched well enough to keep pace and with more help from his defense likely would have walked off the mound with the game still tied.

Though Boston couldn’t muster much offense against Burnes, the damage they did was at least loud. Having already mashed five home runs through Boston’s first 10 games on the road, Tyler O’Neill continued his rampage by crushing a solo home run in the bottom of the first.

The homer cleared the Green Monster and sailed 413 feet onto the roof of a Lansdowne Street parking garage, smashing the windshield of an unsuspecting red SUV.

Triston Casas followed O’Neill’s homer with a single, but that was Boston’s last hit for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, the defense didn’t get any better after Bello left.

The Red Sox shot themselves in the foot again in the seventh when Gunnar Henderson doubled with two outs, took advantage of Devers playing far off the bag to swipe third base, and scored on an Adley Rutschman RBI single. Then shortstop David Hamilton committed an error in the eighth, which helped lead to a Cowser sacrifice fly.

Left-hander Joely Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning of relief, and Josh Winckowski allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits over 2.2 innings, including RBI singles to Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins in the bottom of the ninth. He threw 65 pitches, an indication he’s being stretched out to potentially move into the starting rotation following Nick Pivetta’s injury.

Cowser, the Orioles rookie, led Baltimore at the plate by going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and a career-high four RBI.

The Red Sox (7-4) will look to bounce back Wednesday night when Kutter Crawford (0-0, 0.84 ERA) is expected to take the mound against Orioles left-hander Cole Irvin (0-1, 7.20). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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