BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox have frequently made themselves right at home in Oriole Park in Camden Yards, a/k/a The House That Lucchino Built. Fans flock from New England to take advantage of the cheaper ticket prices, and Sox hitters usually have exploited the ballpark’s cozy dimensions and Baltimore’s compliant pitching staff.
In 2009, for example, the Sox averaged almost eight runs a game here, scoring 71 runs in nine games while hitting 17 home runs and batting a collective .348.
Then there is 2014. After losing a 6-0 decision to the Orioles in the rubber game of this three-game set, the Sox flew home to Boston Wednesday night with only a single run to show for their 27 innings here.
One run in three games. The Sox had never scored fewer than five runs in a series in Baltimore in the 23 seasons since Camden Yards opened in 1992. That happened in 2001, and before that in 1978.
You have to go back 40 years, to 1974 and Memorial Stadium, to find the last time the Sox scored fewer runs within the Baltimore city limits. The Sox lost both ends of a doubleheader on Sept. 2, 1-0, then were shut out two days later, 6-0, in the series finale. The Orioles pitchers then were named Grimsley, Cueller and Palmer, their pedigrees slightly more substantial than Norris, Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles starters who did the honors this go-round.
Monday night, the Sox had three hits, and one baserunner advanced as far as third base. Wednesday night, it was four singles, one runner as far as third, and three innings brought to an abrupt end by double plays.
The Sox held the lead once in three games here, when Brandon Workman and the Sox bullpen made Mike Napoli’s flared RBI single in the third stand up as the only run of the game in Boston’s 1-0 win Tuesday.
The Sox are 29-36, returning home after winning just two of nine games on a three-city tour of Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore. They began the trip six games out of first place in the AL East, and come back nine games out. It could have been worse. First-place Toronto lost each of the last two nights.
The Sox batted .147 (9-for-61) with runners in scoring position on this trip. Wednesday night, they only had two at-bats with a runner in scoring position. The best chance came when Brock Holt grounded a 3-and-1 pitch into a 4-6-3 double play to end the sixth.
Rookie Xander Bogaerts, who had been the team’s hottest hitter, ended the trip hitless in his last 16 at-bats. David Ortiz, whose game-winning home run in Detroit Sunday night was supposed to kindle a revival but instead has faded from memory, had one hit in three games in Baltimore, a single.
Dustin Pedroia was 0-for-12 until he singled in each of his last two at-bats Wednesday, but even that took an unhappy twist when Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis gunned him down trying to stretch his fourth-inning hit into a double.
Even the 10-game hitting streak of Holt came to an end, Holt whiffing twice and grounding out twice.
Rubby De La Rosa gave up an RBI double to Adam Jones and a two-run home run to Orioles slugger Chris Davis in the first, and had to know it would be a long night, regardless of how well he pitched thereafter. De La Rosa was fine the rest of the way, allowing a run on five singles while striking out seven, but rain ended any chance that he would be spared defeat.
Play was interrupted with the Orioles coming to bat in the bottom of the seventh at 9:11 p.m. The game resumed at 10:49 p.m. The Orioles won after the rain delay too, 2-0, with Chris Capuano walking home two runs in the eighth.