Games 76 & 77 - Red Sox
Red Sox 4, Orioles 0
Orioles 11, Red Sox 10
It was funny at first. When Justin Masterson retired Felix Pie on a routine grounder to second to end the 6th inning, he walked off the mound and into the Sox dugout, followed by nearly all of his teammates. Thing is, Pie's out was only the second of the inning. Belly laughs ensued from Sox players and fans alike, as the good guys led, 9-1, and Masterson returned to the mound to polish off Nick Markakis on 3 pitches.
In retrospect, the Sox' mental lapse - an unusual one for this team - was portentous evidence that the squad had already checked out of a game they had won. The next 2 innings proved it, as the Orioles turned 13 hits into 10 runs against the league's best bullpen and completed the greatest comeback in their formerly-great (note: we're contractually committed to taking gratuitous shots at the Angelos-era Orioles) franchise's history. As I noted to my MLC colleagues, the entire thing had sort of a freight-train inevitability to it.
It also ruined my evening, which is really the most important element of the whole sordid deal.
I'm willing to file this one into the 'Stuff* Happens' (*Hi, Mom!) folder and be done with it, just as soon as Josh Beckett takes the mound this afternoon and lathers, rinses, repeats the lingering dandruff of regret right out of the Sox. But given the fact that the AL East boasts perhaps the 3 best teams in the entire major leagues, even single games in June matter. Let's hope this one doesn't come back to sting.