BOSTON (AP) — Riding the momentum of a last at-bat win didn’t last long for the Boston Red Sox.
Nelson Cruz went a career-best 5 for 5, including a solo home run and a bad-hop single that scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Red Sox 7-4 on Saturday night to earn a split of a day-night doubleheader.
The Red Sox won the opener 3-2 on Jonathan Herrera’s one-out, broken-bat RBI single off T.J. McFarland in the bottom of the ninth.
In the second game, the Red Sox collected five hits during a four-run fourth that gave them a 4-2 lead. That was it for the hits — except for a double by David Ortiz one inning later.
“It’s there. Everybody’s grinding,” said Boston shortstop Stephen Drew, who hit a homer in each game, his first since Boston’s World Series clinching Game 6 win last fall. “We’re working hard. Unfortunately, tonight we couldn’t pull it out.”
John Lackey (9-6) allowed five runs and 10 hits with 11 strikeouts, a much different outing than Boston got from Jon Lester in the opener.
“Honestly that’s about as good stuff as I’ve had all year and I’m trying to figure what happened to give up five runs,” he said. “You have to give their guys a lot of credit. That’s a tough lineup, made a couple of mistakes and they hit the ball out of the park.”
Cruz had two doubles and was thrown at third in an attempt for the cycle in eighth. Nick Hundley added a two-run homer in the second game as Baltimore overcame Lackey’s strong start with a run in the fifth and three against him in the sixth.
But Lackey didn’t want to talk about Cruz, who served a 50-game suspension he received last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement.
“I’m not going to comment on him,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to say on him. There’s things I would like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
The Red Sox have lost four of five.
Brad Bach (3-0) and four other Baltimore relievers combined to shut down Boston in the second game after Ubaldo Jimenez gave up four runs, five hits and six walks while getting 11 outs.
While third baseman Manny Machado went 2 for 5 in the nightcap in his return from his five-game suspension for throwing a bat during a June 8 game against Oakland, Cruz carried Baltimore after the heartbreaking opening loss.
Cruz doubled, singled, hit a solo home run, his 27th, and finally chased Lackey with a single that took a big hop off the lip in front of third base in a three-run sixth.
Cruz doubled into the gap off Edward Mujica in the eighth, but was cut down at third on a relay throw from Drew. His average jumped to .286.
Lester gave up two unearned runs, struck out seven and walked none in eight innings, but was denied his 10th win due to shoddy defense and poor hitting.
After closer Koji Uehara (4-2) pitched a perfect ninth to keep it 2-2, manager John Farrell went to his bench.
Pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes legged out a leadoff infield single off McFarland (1-2). David Ross bunted Gomes to second before Herrera, hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr., dropped a blooper to right that scored a sliding Gomes and snapped Baltimore’s four-game winning streak.
Drew, re-signed in May, came in hitting .136. He hit a solo shot in the opener and his two-run homer in the second game off Jimenez came in a four-run fourth that put the Red Sox ahead 4-2.
NOTES: Boston DH Ortiz went 1 for 4 in the nightcap after missing the opener to attend his daughter’s graduation in the Dominican Republic. … The Red Sox committed five errors on the day. … Orioles RHP Bud Norris (groin) threw a simulated game after the opener. Manager Buck Showalter said he’s a “candidate” to start Wednesday. … Farrell said OF Shane Victorino (hamstring, back) could begin another rehabilitation assignment in a few days. … The Orioles planned to recall RHP Kevin Gausman from Triple-A Norfolk to start Sunday’s series finale against Jake Peavy.
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