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Staked to early lead, Hess struggles vs. Sox

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- The number looms larger and larger with each passing day, a symbol of the frustration, disappointment and a whole slew of lengthy superlatives that still, somehow, don't do this season justice.

Nineteen wins. A number that has followed this Orioles team for nearly a week, that has made Baltimore the last team in the Majors -- in mid-June -- to reach the 20-win mark. The positives are hard to come by, particularly when some of the bright spots -- like rookie starter David Hess -- start to fade. That was the case Tuesday, as Boston roughed up Hess over 3 1/3 innings to hand the O's a 6-4 series defeat.

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BALTIMORE -- The number looms larger and larger with each passing day, a symbol of the frustration, disappointment and a whole slew of lengthy superlatives that still, somehow, don't do this season justice.

Nineteen wins. A number that has followed this Orioles team for nearly a week, that has made Baltimore the last team in the Majors -- in mid-June -- to reach the 20-win mark. The positives are hard to come by, particularly when some of the bright spots -- like rookie starter David Hess -- start to fade. That was the case Tuesday, as Boston roughed up Hess over 3 1/3 innings to hand the O's a 6-4 series defeat.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's coming in pitching so well. Been so happy with him, the way he's pitched up here. Just command got away from him," manager Buck Showalter said of Hess, who allowed five runs in the loss. "It seemed like he was a little quick tonight. He's always been a get-down-the-hill guy and it seemed like he was a little out of sync. Tempo was a little different tonight."

Baltimore, which saw its losing streak rise to six, has three fewer wins than any other team in baseball. An offense that has struggled to find the big hit left the bases loaded with one out in the seventh inning and is 1-8 against Boston this year.

"It's really tough. We got the bases loaded, we didn't score when we got some runners on. It's tough," Jonathan Schoop said of the lineup's season-long struggles. "The pitchers out there, they want to get us out and we want to get hits, so nobody is trying to go out there and not do their jobs. It's tough. We've got to keep grinding and working hard and hopefully things start going."

Video: BOS@BAL: Rickard mashes a leadoff homer in the 1st

The Orioles got a leadoff homer from Joey Rickard in the first for a short-lived lead, but then Sox third baseman Rafael Devers hit a two-run homer in the second inning. Hess surrendered a solo shot to Andrew Benintendi in the third and the Sox added two more in the fourth to chase Hess and force Showalter to go to his bullpen early.

"You look at what they were able to do, they were able to capitalize on some mistakes," said Hess, who has four quality starts in his first six games, with Boston twice getting the best of him. "At the end of the day, if I execute some pitches a little bit better, I think the results are different. But that's a good lineup. You got to be at your best going out there and tonight I wasn't."

Video: BOS@BAL: Trumbo's double plates Valencia, Schoop

The O's scored two off Red Sox starter, and former Orioles farmhand, Eduardo Rodriguez but left 12 men on base and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position until Mark Trumbo's two-out, two-run double in the ninth.

Orioles closer Zach Britton made his season debut with a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning. Britton walked three of the first four batters he faced, but he was able to get out of the jam unscathed in his first outing since having Achilles surgery in December.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Orioles loaded the bases with one out on reliever Hector Velazquez in the bottom of the seventh inning. Velazquez struck out Trey Mancini and then Joe Kelly got Schoop to send a dribbler back to the mound for an easy force at home.

Video: BOS@BAL: Kelly gets out of a bases-loaded jam

Baltimore also stranded runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but they need some success. I don't care how strong you are mentally or emotionally, in this game it will wear on you when you have that amount of struggles with something you've been so good at," Showalter said of Mancini and Schoop's timely hitting gone missing. "It just beats on you every day. I see it behind the scenes and in the dugout and up the runway. But there's only one way to get out of it, you've got to go out there and fight your way through it."

SOUND SMART
Adam Jones singled in his first and fourth at-bats, tying Manny Machado for the team lead with 21 multihit games, including three in his past four. Jones has hit safely in five consecutive games against the Red Sox and seven of nine games this season.

Video: BOS@BAL: Britton strikes out Devers in his 2018 debut

HE SAID IT
"Like nine months since I pitched in a big league game, so it almost felt like my debut. Like an out-of-body experience. It was weird. But just happy to get through that one, and, obviously, I know that command [is], obviously, not going to play. I can't remember the last time I threw a ball to the backstop. So that just shows you. It was just a weird one out there, but I was just happy to get it out of the way and then just kind of settle back in, kind of breathe a little bit." -- Britton, on his season debut

UP NEXT
Minor Leaguer Yefry Ramirez will be called up Wednesday to make his Major League debut in place of the injured Andrew Cashner against the Red Sox. Ramirez has a 4.33 ERA in 12 starts and 60 1/3 innings this season with Triple-A Norfolk. Boston will counter with ace Chris Sale, and first pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. ET.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, David Hess, Joey Rickard