The ever-changing New England weather is inflicting a cruel punishment on the people of Boston these days. It's early June, people are finally getting a chance to enjoy warm weather and, suddenly, it's September.
True, leaves are still green, but fans here know September when they see it. September is when the Red Sox fall apart.
The unraveling Sox lost their seventh straight today, a 10-6 nationally televised embarrassment against the Baltimore Orioles, who won for the sixth time in a row and ninth time in 10 games.
Even the ever-patient Manager Ralph Houk had a hard time finding the silver lining after today's game. "I'd like to say that ought to end the streak," Houk said when the debacle was over. "We got everything out of the way in that one. Have you ever seen so many things happen?"
A lot of bad things happened to the Red Sox and most were self-induced. They got 15 hits, but scored only six runs and the final three came in ninth-inning garbage time, when the Orioles were playing with a 10-3 lead. In the first five innings, when the game was still on the line, Boston stranded eight runners, six in scoring position.
The Orioles will probably never win in Fenway with poorer pitching than they had yesterday. Winner Scott McGregor (8-3) yielded nine hits in five innings, but left with a 3-2 lead. Sammy Stewart gave up six hits and two walks, and needed help from Tippy Martinez in the ninth.
In the first two innings, the Red Sox had two doubles and two singles, but couldn't score.
The Orioles got a scare when Rich Dauer was wiped out by a sliding Jim Rice in the first. Dauer completed his double-play throw, but suffered two lacerations on his right leg. One required 14 stitches, the other three. He is expected to be out for three or four days.
Bob Ojeda retired the first nine Orioles and seemed in control of the scoreless game when John Shelby opened the fourth with an infield hit. Shelby moved to second when Lenn Sakata grounded to short, and scored on a double by Cal Ripken Jr. Eddie Murray followed with a single.
Ripken held at third and stayed there when Gary Roenicke flied to shallow right. Ripken drew a strong throw from Dwight Evans, and when second baseman Dave Stapleton failed to cut the ball off, Murray took second. Both scored on Ken Singleton's double.
The Sox cut it to 3-2 in the fourth when Reid Nichols' homer was followed by three straight singles.
It was still 3-2 when workhorse Bob Stanley relieved Ojeda with runners on second and third and one out in the sixth.
After Singleton was intentionally walked, John Lowenstein batted for Benny Ayala and hit Stanley's palm ball into right for a two-run single, and Singleton scored on a force play.
Things deteriorated rapidly from there. Hoffman made it 6-3 with an single off Stewart in the sixth, but Stapleton killed the rally when he tripped after rounding second.
The Orioles scored twice in the seventh off Stanley and twice in the ninth against John Henry Johnson. Boston got three runs in the ninth.
Baltimore has a four-game lead in the American League East and is 13-6 against division opponents.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, dropped to .500 and are six games out. "We're just not playing good baseball," said a disgusted Jerry Remy.
Remy remembers the golden days when the Red Sox played great all summer--until September.