BOSTON — A year after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox had plenty of chances to make a special day even more memorable.
They almost succeeded.
Boston scored one run in each of the last three innings — stranding runners in scoring position in all of them — — in a 7-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Monday’s traditional Patriots’ Day morning game
Article continues below ...
Not bad, though, considering the Red Sox trailed 6-0 after three innings.
"Our guys battled and fought and did a good job of making a game of it and it came down to the last pitch," David Ross said. "We did a good job of representing Red Sox baseball today. We just want to win, obviously, for the fans and the whole situation.’"
Boston beat Tampa Bay 3-2 in last year’s Patriots’ Day game. About 40 minutes after the final out, two bombs went off near the marathon finish line a little over a mile from Fenway Park, killing three spectators.
This year, Monday’s game began at 11:09 a.m., 12 hours, 28 minutes after Boston’s 6-5 win ended Sunday night.
"Once you show up here, we have a job to do," Baltimore’s Adam Jones said. "It doesn’t matter what time it is."
The game started about an hour before Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line as the first American man to win the Marathon since Greg Meyer in 1983. A long, loud cheer went up when the result of the race was shown on the center field video screen.
Boston’s Mike Napoli called Monday "a special day."
"Of course, you want to go out there and win," he said.
That seemed unlikely when Baltimore scored six runs off Clay Buchholz in the third inning. The Red Sox, who overcame a 5-0 deficit Sunday, started to come back again.
"It never seems to be enough against these guys," said Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who fielded Mike Carp’s grounder and stepped on first for the last out. "They claw and battle and continue to score runs and put pressure on us to score more runs."
Boston loaded the bases with one out in the ninth on a single by Brock Holt, a double by Dustin Pedroia and an intentional walk to David Ortiz. One run scored on Napoli’s groundout to second before Tommy Hunter escaped with his fifth save.
Nothing special for Hunter.
"It’s another inning, another game," he said. "I was actually pretty calm."
Wei-Yin Chen (3-1) and five relievers pitched well enough for Baltimore to gain a split of the four-game series.
Baltimore started the third with consecutive singles by Steve Lombardozzi, David Lough, Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz and Davis that produced three runs. Jones drove in another on a forceout at second base before a run-scoring double by Steve Clevenger and an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop made it 6-0 and knocked out Buchholz (0-2).
Buchholz had slept over at Fenway Park after Sunday night’s game and doesn’t regret the decision.
"I’d have had to wake up earlier than I did here to get here this morning," he said, "so that had nothing to do with it."
Boston cut the lead in half with three runs in the fifth on RBI doubles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Pedroia and a sacrifice fly by Holt.
In the seventh, Boston made it 6-4 on Ross’ first homer and then had a chance to go ahead after Holt singled and Pedroia walked. But Ortiz hit an inning-ending groundout.
Ryan Flaherty’s RBI single in the eighth made it 7-4 before Napoli’s solo homer in the bottom half. Singles by Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava put runners at first and second with one out, but pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera struck out as the runners took off and Bogaerts was tagged between second and third.
"It takes some added energy," Boston manager John Farrell said of the repeated comeback attempts. "We’d certainly like to get the offense going a little bit earlier rather than having to dig out of a hole."
NOTES: Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg in last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was married in Fenway Park last Thursday. … Boston’s jerseys had the word "BOSTON" on the front instead of the usual "RED SOX." … Davis singled and walked twice and tied his career-high by reaching base in 17 straight games. … The Red Sox send Jon Lester (2-2) to the mound Tuesday night for the start of a three-game home series against the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka (2-0) pitches for New York. The Orioles will start Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) against R.A. Dickey (1-3) of the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series at Toronto.