BOSTON — An impressive seventh-inning rally only postponed defeat a couple of hours for the spiraling and pressing Red Sox.
Boston’s comeback from a five-run deficit was thwarted when David Lough tripled to lead off the 12th inning and scored on J.J. Hardy’s single as the Baltimore Orioles recovered for a 7-6 victory Sunday.
The Red Sox lost two of three to Baltimore to fall a season-worst 10 games below .500. They’ve dropped five of six, 11 of 16 and sit nine games behind the AL East-leading Orioles.
“Got to win on this day,” said Jake Peavy, who allowed two runs – one earned – and six hits in six innings. “I’m as sick of it as you guys are sitting here talking about losing.”
What best summed up Boston’s day and season? Collecting his fourth hit and reaching base for the fifth time to lead off the 12th, David Ortiz tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out easily by Lough in left field.
Earlier, Dustin Pedroia was caught stealing second with one out in the ninth and Ortiz at the plate.
“We’re always going to err on the side of aggressiveness,” manager John Farrell said.
Brad Brach (4-0) earned the victory with three innings of scoreless relief. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four. Zach Britton pitched the 12th for his 14th save in a game that lasted more than 5 hours.
Edward Mujica (2-4) worked a scoreless 11th before Lough lined a triple to the center field wall leading off the 12th. The next batter, Hardy, bounced one through the left side of the infield to give the Orioles the lead.
Hardy and Nelson Cruz each had three hits for Baltimore, which has won six of seven. Cruz had five hits Saturday in the second game of a day-night doubleheader and hit safely in seven straight at-bats before flying out in the fifth.
Ortiz had four hits and Pedroia added three for Boston, which trailed 6-1 before scoring five runs in the seventh to tie it.
“We strung some hits together, finally, to mount that inning,” Farrell said.
Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits, threw out a runner at the plate and made a leaping catch to end the top of the ninth.
“We haven’t won the close games,” Pedroia said. “We’ve played a lot of one-run games and that’s been the difference. One hit or one play being made in each of those games and it’s a different story right now.”
The Orioles scored in the fourth against Peavy after Cruz led off with a double and came around when third baseman Xander Bogaerts fielded Delmon Young’s grounder and threw it into the stands behind first base. Young made it 2-0 in the sixth when he was hit by a pitch leading off the inning and scored on Caleb Joseph’s sacrifice fly.
Boston cut it to 2-1 in the bottom half on Ortiz’s RBI single through the shifted infield. Baltimore scored four in the seventh on six singles and catcher David Ross’ error on a play at the plate.
After Stephen Drew struck out to start the bottom half, Ross homered and then the next four batters singled to make it a 6-4 game. Pedroia struck out, then Brian Matusz was brought in to face Ortiz, who was 1 for 22 with 13 strikeouts in his career against the Orioles lefty.
Ortiz singled to make it 6-5, then Mike Napoli singled off Tommy Hunter to tie the game before Drew struck out to end the inning.