Sox starter Aaron Cook lasted only 2.2 inning and Sox batters never figured out Jason Hammel as the Orioles cruised to an 8-2 victory this afternoon.
God bless Clayton Mortensen and Scott Atchison. After the Sox used 6 arms from the bullpen in yesterday's extra-innings loss, and Aaron Cook was removed mid-way through the second today, things looked pretty bleak. Valentine called on Mortensen, who struck out 5 batters over 3+ innings of 2 hit ball. He did allow a 3-run home run to Mark Reynolds in the 3rd (2 of the runners were Cook's responsibility) but after that he settled right down. Once he was nearing 60 pitches, Bobby went to Atchison (who pitched in last night's game). Atchison threw 3 hitless innings of his own. I don't even want to think of what would have happened had Mortensen or Atchison struggled.
And whoever was calling for Aaron Cook to be inserted into the Sox rotation: Shame on you! Oh, that was me? Whoops!
In his defense, it wasn't actually poor pitching that was his undoing today, but a Chris Davis spiking. Cook mowed through the first 5 batters he faced before allowing a single to Davis and another to Betemit. Then he threw a bit of a wild pitch that Salty couldn't handle, Davis chugged home, Cook covered the plate, Davis slid home catching Cook in the lower leg with his spikes. Cook stuck it out for a few more batters after that, but he wasn't nearly the same pitcher. And by "not the same" I mean he completely unraveled. His final line for the game: 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 7 runs (6 earned) 1 walk and 0 strike outs.
But it wouldn't have mattered if Cook took the mound or vintage Pedro Martinez because once again the Sox offense was non-existent.
From the 2nd inning through the 6th, the Sox went 1-2-3 each time, with an Ortiz walk being the only Sox runner Hammel allowed. Boston tacked on a couple runs in the 7th on a Sweeney double and a Ross single, but that was pretty much the only offense all day. Gonzalez had another good day at the plate, going 3-4 (raising his average on the year to .284) with a run scored. Pedroia when 2-4. Sweeney, Ross and Salty were the only other batters to get a hit.
On the plus side, there was no shortage of Red Sox slamming their helmets into the ground after poor at-bats, so there's that.