BOSTON — BOSTON — This was too good to be true, right?

The Boston Red Sox began the bottom of the ninth inning down by three runs. They scored once, put two more runners on with no outs. Then the big man, David Ortiz, strutted to the plate. A double would tie the game, a home run would win it.

“The setup for a dramatic moment on which he’s risen to the occasion so many times,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.

Instead, Ortiz grounded into a double play and then Hanley Ramirez struck out, as the Baltimore Orioles dampened the Fenway Park opener Monday afternoon with a 9-7 win.

Baltimore remained unbeaten (6-0); Boston dropped to 3-3.

“What do you want me to tell you about it?” Ortiz said of the ninth inning. “I ground out. Next question.”


Ortiz’s abruptness may be understandable. He did have two hits, including a double and an RBI – part of an 11-hit Red Sox attack – but it was not enough to overcome another shaky pitching performance.

The surprise was that the pitchers in question were ace David Price (five innings, five runs) and closer Craig Kimbrel, who allowed a tie-breaking three-run Chris Davis home run in the ninth.

“Davis is a real good low ball hitter,” Farrell said. “He gets a fastball in the middle of the plate and turns it around.”

Kimbrel was not as upset at the home run as he was of the two walks that preceded it.

“I can’t be walking guys in that situation,” Kimbrel said.

For all the pitching failure, the Red Sox led this game once and tied it twice. Boston has scored 35 runs in six games, including a shutout loss on Sunday.


“I told you guys in spring training, we’re going to hit,” Ortiz said. “I never doubt we’re going to have a good offense.”

Mookie Betts had three hits, including a ninth-inning home run.

Baltimore starter Yovani Gallardo also lasted five innings, turning this game into a bullpen battle.

Gallardo got in trouble immediately, allowing consecutive singles by Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Ortiz to begin the bottom of the first inning. Bogaerts and Ortiz both had an RBI and Hanley Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

That looked like plenty for Price, who struck out four of the first eight batters.

But it came apart quickly with one out in the third. Baltimore loaded the bases and with two outs, Davis fought off a 1-2 change-up and singled in two runs. Mark Trumbo followed with a three-run homer over the Boston bullpen and the Orioles led 5-3.


“If I could take a pitch back, it’s that change-up to Chris Davis,” Price said. “If I can execute that the way I did earlier on, to get that swinging strike below the zone, it could have been a little different for me.”

Boston tied it in the fourth. Brock Holt walked and Blake Swihart singled. Jackie Bradley Jr. sliced a ground-rule RBI double, then Betts knocked in Swihart on a fielder’s choice ground ball.

Matt Barnes relieved Price in the sixth and promptly gave up back-to-back doubles to J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop for a 6-5 Orioles lead.

Boston tied it again in the seventh. Holt worked a one-out walk and hustled to third on Swihart’s single to center. Bradley hit a grounder to second. Baltimore went for the double play and Bradley just beat the throw, allowing Holt to score.

The relievers held serve in the seventh and eighth as both teams warmed up their closers for the ninth.

Kimbrel, making his first Red Sox appearance at Fenway, walked two in the ninth – including Manny Machado with two outs – to bring up Davis. He crushed a 0-1, 97 mph fastball to deep center field.

In the bottom of the ninth, Betts worked a full count against Baltimore closer Zach Britton and smacked a fastball over the Green Monster. Pedroia followed with a single, firing up the Fenway crowd. Bogaerts walked. But Ortiz grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, and Britton struck out Ramirez.

NOTES: Fenway featured extra protective netting, extending to both dugouts. Last year, a fan was injured when a broken bat flew into the stands. … The pregame ceremony featured a video tribute to Ortiz, who is retiring after this season. Then Ortiz was surprised to hear the name of his 15-year-old daughter, Alex, announced to sing the national anthem. “I was more nervous during that than any at-bat I’ve had in my career,” Ortiz said … Four Boston sports standouts threw out the ceremonial first pitches – Ortiz, Bobby Orr, Bill Russell and Ty Law … Ramirez received two loud ovations for his fielding, scooping a ball in the dirt and hustling to catch a fly ball in shallow right field.

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