BOSTON -- That new love affair twixt a town and a team?
You might want to hold off on ordering flowers just yet.
New Boston Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan learned first-hand Wednesday night how quickly this place can turn on a man when he flipped a pending Sox win one out from completion into a stunning 8-5 defeat.
Entrusted with a 5-3 advantage entering the ninth inning, Hanrahan gave up a home run to Chris Davis, just as he’d done with Adam Jones in the ninth on Monday. In that game, Hanrahan stopped the bleeding, giving up a two-out double to J.J. Hardy but no more runs.
This time, Hanrahan opened a vein, giving up a two-out single to Ryan Flaherty, walking Nolan Reimold on four pitches, then walking Nate McLouth on a full count, which came after a visit from pitching coach Juan Nieves.
On Hanrahan’s first pitch to Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, Hanrahan bounced a slider for a wild pitch that allowed pinch-runner Alexi Casilla to score the tying run. Machado hit the next pitch out for a three-run home run.
The first non-sellout crowd in nearly 10 years (30,862), which already had endured a steady rain in the early innings and a 43-minute delay after five, did not spare Hanrahan’s feelings as he trudged off the mound, booing with gusto as manager John Farrell summoned lefty Andrew Miller to collect the last out Hanrahan was unable to deliver.
The Sox had taken a 5-3 lead in the sixth on back-to-back home runs by Daniel Nava, his third in three games, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a blast over the visitors’ bullpen for his first of the season.
The Orioles had scored three times in the first five innings, two runs resulting from errors by outfielders Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley Jr. Victorino’s error could just as easily have been charged to Jacoby Ellsbury, who converged on Victorino as he was settling under Machado’s fly ball in the first. Victorino ducked, Ellsbury didn’t make the catch, and McLouth scored from first on the misplay. Machado then scored on an infield out.