Rapid Reaction: Orioles 4, Red Sox 1
May, 22, 2012
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Youkilis had little use for the pregame scrum at his locker Tuesday.
“There’s no story here,’’ he said, as if the return of a three-time All-Star after an absence of 3 1/2 weeks should merit no more attention than the arrival of a new shipment of bats.
But if Youkilis thought he could slip in unobtrusively, he failed miserably, launching a home run into the visitors’ bullpen in the fourth inning in his second at-bat back in a Red Sox uniform.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the rest of the offense was rendered invisible by Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz and three relievers, Youkilis accounting for Boston’s only run in a 4-1 defeat.
The Red Sox managed just one baserunner, on a one-out walk to Daniel Nava in the eighth, after Youkilis’ home run. Adrian Gonzalez had the team’s only other hit, a second-inning single, and he was the only other Red Sox runner to advance as far as second base.
Matusz kept the Sox off balance all night with a terrific array of off-speed pitches, including a wicked curveball that helped him rack up nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Sidewinding Darren O’Day replaced Matusz and punched out both Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks to end the seventh, Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jim Johnson made it 16 saves in 16 tries with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Red Sox wasted Felix Doubront’s finest outing of the season, one in which he allowed just four hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out nine. One of the hits was a two-run home run by Steve Tolleson, whose father, Wayne, played for Bobby Valentine when he managed the Rangers in 1985.
The Orioles added two more runs in the eighth on a two-run homer by Wilson Betemit off former Baltimore reliever Matt Albers, who had held the Orioles hitless in 33 career at-bats, striking out 16, until Betemit connected after a two-out walk in the eighth.