BALTIMORE -- Yefry Ramirez's opening act -- a matchup against Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox -- was a daunting one. And the righty handled it well.Ramirez pitched into the fifth inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Sox, holding Boston to three runs, two of which scored after he
BALTIMORE -- Yefry Ramirez's opening act -- a matchup against Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox -- was a daunting one. And the righty handled it well.
Ramirez pitched into the fifth inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Sox, holding Boston to three runs, two of which scored after he exited in a commendable Major League debut. But, as has been the case in nearly all of the Orioles' losses this season, the offense failed to deliver in the 5-1 series-sweeping loss.
"It was a tough situation. He flies in here last night and walks in the locker room. It's a sticky day. He hadn't thrown barely over 90 pitches this year," manager Buck Showalter said of Ramirez. "He held his own for the most part. He gave us a chance. I was proud of him.
"[The Red Sox have a] tough lineup, and he competed and didn't implode and start walking a bunch of people," Showalter continued. "He made some out pitches, and you see why he's won a lot of baseball games in his Minor League career. I'm glad he got the opportunity."
For the 20th time in 67 games, Baltimore was held to one run or fewer. This defeat ran its current losing streak to seven. The O's are the final team in the Majors to not eclipse the 20-win mark, and the series finale against Sale -- who went six-plus innings before being ejected as he exited -- proved a particularly tough test.
The Orioles pushed across a run in the seventh after back-to-back walks set up Jace Peterson's sacrifice fly.
"He throws his fastball 94-99. His slider is super hard to hit especially when he has good command," Peterson said of Sale. "He's a tough one to hit any day but especially when he's got his good stuff working."
Ramirez, a last-minute addition with Andrew Cashner on the disabled list, held Boston to one run -- a solo shot by Mookie Betts -- through the first four frames. Ranked as the Orioles' No. 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Ramirez struck out six and allowed just four hits, getting some key swings and misses on his changeup.
"The plan was to go after the hitters, continue to attack the zone, regardless of name or batting order," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "Try to continue to do the same things I was able to do in Triple-A -- stay ahead in the count, always open with the first-pitch strike."
That plan started to falter, and a pair of back-to-back walks to Betts and Andrew Benintendi ended Ramirez's day one out into the fifth at 97 pitches. Righty Mike Wright Jr. allowed both runs to score to push Ramirez's line to three earned runs.
"I think there was some fatigue to it as well," Ramirez said of not being as aggressive in the fifth. "I think at that point, I was trying to do too much and things weren't working -- a combination of those two things."
Wright allowed two more of his own volition, including J.D. Martinez's seventh-inning solo homer -- his 22nd of the year -- to pad Boston's lead.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bleier exits in pain: Orioles reliever Richard Bleier exited in the eighth inning with a left lat injury. The lefty threw a pitch and put his glove down to grab his arm in pain as head athletic trainer Brian Ebel rushed out. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday.
"Thankfully, we have an off-day tomorrow, so it will kind of give everybody a chance to regroup," said Bleier, who exited the game immediately after, "but it's obviously not good for everyone and everything's kind of not going well, so it kind of just compounds that."
HE SAID IT
"You have to go out there and be ready to compete and play hard no matter who is on the mound. It's no secret we are definitely struggling as a team, but we are big leaguers in here and it's got to turn eventually. We got to keep working, and when enough guys buy in and everyone starts feeling better at the plate and you get a couple to fall, it will just trickle on down." -- Peterson, on a slumping offense facing Sale
Kevin Gausman will take the mound following Thursday's off-day, opening a weekend series against the Marlins at Camden Yards. Miami righty Jose Urena will oppose him in the 7:05 p.m. ET Interleague game on Friday.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.