BOSTON, JUNE 30 -- The Baltimore Orioles haven't seen many games like this one, but then again they've never seen a month like the one they finished tonight with a 13-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox before 29,433 at Fenway Park.
Tonight's loss added a final and appropriate touch to the worst month in Orioles history, a month in which they went 5-23 and dropped from fourth place to sixth and from five games out of first to a whopping 17.
Since the last days of May, they've lost 26 of 31 games and, at 31-46, are on a pace to lose 97 games, which would be their worst season in 32 years.
They went out in style tonight, wasting 18 hits and nine runs as four pitchers allowed the Red Sox 17 hits, including homers by Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs and Mike Greenwell.
The Orioles did surmount one barrier as Mark Williamson (2-6) became their first starter in three games to get to the second inning. However, he didn't see the sixth and was charged with eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. His failure to get any farther forced Monday starter Dave Schmidt and Sunday long reliever John Habyan into the game.
This was also the night Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. seemed to be on the verge of running up the white flag, after his pitchers allowed 46 earned runs in 44 innings on the team's five-game road trip.
Asked if the Orioles might simply be a bad team, he said, "It certainly is pointing in that direction. We're not in very good shape. I didn't see any good signs except that we scored nine runs. That was about it."
And, too, this marked the night on which Orioles pitchers finally passed Orioles hitters in the homer derby. Those pitchers have now allowed 115 homers and are on a pace to give up 242, which would break the major league record of 237 set by the 1964 Kansas City Athletics.
Orioles hitters lead the major leagues with 113 homers and are on a pace to hit 238, which would be just shy of the major league record of 240 set by the 1961 New York Yankees.
Boggs again was the principal Red Sox weapon as he collected two singles and a two-run homer (he walked in his other two plate appearances) to raise his league-leading batting average to .391. In two games against the Orioles this week, he has gone six for seven, with six runs and nine RBI, to raise his average 11 points.
"It doesn't matter what we throw him, he hits it," Williamson said. "He's in one of those grooves where he's seeing the ball extremely well. What can you say? I think he was hitting .340 a couple of weeks ago, and he's now above .390. He's doing it to everyone."
Boggs agreed with that and said he doesn't remember ever being in this kind of streak. He has hit an amazing .450 his last 37 games, raising his average 60 points, .331 to .391.
"This is probably the longest I've ever been in a real good groove," he said. "I hit .471 last May, but this streak is a little longer than that. There are going to be times when I make outs because someone catches it. I can hit it, but I can't guide it."
He smiled slyly.
"Well, I can't steer it all the time," he said.
The 13 homers is five more than he has had in any full season, and he got his second in as many nights by hitting a hanging palmball from Schmidt in the sixth.
"I'm waiting on pitches, which is all a hitter can do," he said. "The main thing for me is to lay off the pitches I shouldn't try to hit. That was just a palmball. I got out in front and flicked it out of the park. Everyone asks me, but the answer is the same: I'm not trying to hit home runs."
This game started like the previous two, with the Red Sox quickly taking a 4-0 lead, three of the runs coming on Evans' 13th homer.
But Williamson survived the first and the Orioles knocked out Red Sox starter Jeff Sellers with five runs in the second. They got consecutive singles from Fred Lynn, Ray Knight and Terry Kennedy to load the bases. Larry Sheets singled in two runs, Rick Burleson doubled in a third and Mike Young's grounder scored another for a 4-4 tie. They then took a 5-4 lead on Cal Ripken Jr.'s RBI double.
The Orioles increased their lead to 7-4 in the fourth on RBI hits by Lynn and Kennedy, but in the fifth the Red Sox sent nine men to the plate and scored four times for an 8-7 lead. Greenwell and Baylor had RBI singles, but it was Bill Buckner's two-run single that knocked out Williamson.
"It seemed like they hit every mistake I made," Williamson said. "I was making some good pitches, but when I made a bad one, they whacked it."
Ripken brought in Schmidt, who had started Monday and been knocked out in the first. He was less than sharp again, and in two nights has been charged with seven runs in two innings of work.
The Red Sox scored three times off him in the sixth, two of the runs coming on Boggs' homer and another on Greenwell's for an 11-7 lead.
The Red Sox scored again in the seventh on Marty Barrett's RBI single and got another run in the eighth on Spike Owen's RBI triple. The Orioles received a two-run homer from Sheets in the ninth, but it was too little too late.
"Our bullpen is in bad shape," Ripken Sr. said. "I guess the whole pitching staff is in bad shape."
Reliever Don Aase probably will have an arthroscopic examination performed on his right shoulder to determine if there's any muscle or rotator-cuff damage. A final decision on his condition, and whether surgery will be performed, will be made this week when the three doctors who examined him consult with one another. Despite five weeks on the disabled list, Aase's right shoulder is still sore . . .
A killing combination: Orioles pitchers are second in the league in walks and next to last in strikeouts . . . As unlikely as it sounds, Ripken had Mike Boddicker, sore elbow and all, on standby for relief work Monday night.