BALTIMORE -- Talk about a bad omen. Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez fell to the ground in the bullpen during a warmup pitch on Thursday night, and went on to have his worst outing of the season in a 7-5 loss to the Orioles.
Was there cause and effect?
"I don't know if that caused the seven runs, but he slipped on the mound in the bullpen and he fell down," said Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.
Rodriguez fell on his front side, and was crouched over for a bit, before getting back up and informing the Red Sox he was fine to pitch.
But the end result was not fine.
For the first time this season, the lefty got belted around, tying a career high by allowing four home runs. Over 5 2/3 innings, Rodriguez (4-2, 3.54 ERA) allowed eight hits and seven runs while walking none and striking out six.
Just like that, his string of seven straight quality starts came to a halt.
As for the fall, Rodriguez isn't quite sure what happened.
"I don't know if I can tell you. I just threw a pitch and my foot got in a bad position and I went down. But nothing crazy," Rodriguez said. "I just landed a bit different, and that's it."
Rodriguez has had right knee issues over the past couple of years, which is why the fall was more of a red flag than it would be for other pitchers. But the lefty wasn't looking for an excuse.
"Those guys when you miss, that's what happens," Rodriguez said. "They were making good contact and hitting homers. I just missed my pitches. Too much in the strike zone."
Red Sox manager John Farrell felt comfortable sending his starting pitcher to the mound after a discussion in the dugout.
"I know we checked with him when he came in, checked with him in between every single inning, wasn't complaining of anything and we continued on," said Farrell. "Unfortunately the bottom line was what it was -- a big sixth inning on their part."
During Rodriguez's seven-start hot streak (4-0, 2.25 ERA) that preceded Thursday's start, he had been pinpoint and powerful. His velocity readings were on par in this one, but his pitches were catching too much plate.
"Middle, up in the zone. That's not him," said Vazquez.
The Orioles noticed, and they feasted.
"Yeah, I don't know if we caught [a break]," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "This guy has one of the top 10 ERAs in the American League, which makes it baseball for me. We saw the thing before the game down in the bullpen, so I don't know if we caught him at full strength. But he was still pretty good. The mistakes he did make, our guys put a good swing on it for them to leave the park."
Provided there are no after-effects from Thursday's fall, Rodriguez should make his next start at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
In past years, subpar outings tended to snowball for Rodriguez. But the Red Sox think he has matured past that point this year.
"I think he knows more about himself personally as a pitcher," said Farrell. "That's where we've seen the biggest strides in Eddy's progression this year. In this game, it's always good to have a short memory, and yet to go back and execute the quality locations."