BOSTON (AP) — Baltimore starter Bud Norris could use a little offensive support, although he was pleased to see how quickly his teammates came to his defense.
Norris held Boston to four runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking two in a good performance that wasn’t quite enough to overcome the Orioles’ struggles at the plate as the Red Sox beat Baltimore 4-2 on Saturday.
Norris could take losing to the World Series champions, but was baffled by a moment in the seventh inning when a tie game was interrupted with players from both benches running onto the field after Boston catcher David Ross took exception to a high, inside pitch while attempting a sacrifice bunt.
“I don’t really understand where it’s coming from and his point of view. I’m trying to throw the ball over the plate and take the out because if you’re giving it to me in a sac-bunt situation, I want the out every time,” Norris said.
Norris said he replied “excuse me?” Then Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters took over the conversation from there, standing squarely between Ross and the mound before both managers intervened by grabbing their own catcher and getting him out of there.
“Wietie knew what was going on and he stood right in front of him, which was great. That gave me an opportunity to calm down, get back on the mound and pitch from there,” Norris said.
Norris ended up striking out Ross, but Brock Holt followed with a tiebreaking triple to right-center, then scored on a sacrifice bunt for all the offense Boston needed.
“He hit a first-pitch fastball that I thought was a good pitch,” Norris said.
One night after scoring eight runs on 15 hits, the Orioles’ offense stalled — again with Norris on the mound. Norris pitched seven shutout innings against Toronto in his last start, but ended up with a no decision when the bullpen couldn’t hold on to a 2-1 lead.
“He was good. He deserved a better fate,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “We just weren’t able to do a lot offensively.”
David Ortiz had a solo homer and two hits for the World Series champion Red Sox, who have won three of four.
Nelson Cruz had a pair of run-scoring singles for the Orioles, who had a three-game winning streak halted.
Baltimore benefited from a challenge that overturned a call at first on what would have been Cruz’s inning-ending grounder in the sixth.
Junichi Tazawa (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings of relief. Koji Uehara struck out three after a leadoff walk for his fourth save.
Holt tripled into the right-center field gap in the seventh after Mike Carp drew a leadoff walk from Norris. Jonathan Herrara then dropped down a suicide-squeeze bunt after fouling off his first attempt.
Boston starter Felix Doubront retired 13 consecutive batters after giving up a run in the first before Nick Markakis opened the sixth with a single. He was erased when Delmon Young bounced into double play.
The Orioles then got runners on first and third when Cruz hit a grounder to deep third. Holt made a throw from near the foul line. Cruz was called out by first base umpire Ted Barrett. Showalter challenged his first call of the season and it was overturned after a 49-second wait.
Ortiz’s homer hooked around the Pesky Pole and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Doubront pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking two.
Cruz’s RBI single made it 1-0 in the first.
Boston tied it in the bottom half when third baseman Jonathan Schoop misplayed a probable inning-ending, double-play grounder.
The Orioles, who set a major league record for fewest errors last season (54) and errorless games (119), have committed just four this season — all of them by a third baseman filling in for Gold Glove winner Manny Machado, who is recovering from offseason left knee surgery.
NOTES: Showalter said LHP Zach Britton was sick Friday night and not with the team, but he was back Saturday. … Machado played his first extended spring training game in Sarasota, Fla. Showalter said he “played five innings and had four at-bats with no problems.”
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