The 100th anniversary party at Fenway Park was going pretty well until the Red Sox started playing baseball.
All the visiting former players, television specials, and coffee table books can’t make up for how poorly the current team is playing at the old ballpark. The losing continued on Friday night as the Baltimore Orioles scored twice in the 13th inning to beat the Sox, 6-4.
That’s eight losses in the last nine home games for the last-place Sox, who have fallen seven games out of first. They are 4-8 at Fenway this season and 8-18 since Sept. 1.
“In order to have a good season, you have to play well at home and we just haven’t played well at home for whatever reason. I don’t know what it is. We have to figure it out,’’ Cody Ross said. “It’s tough.’’
The Sox did not score over the final eight innings on Friday night, managing only three hits against five Baltimore relievers. After taking a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning the offense withered away.
The Sox were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and are 3 for 35 in the last three games.
The Sox had runners in scoring position in the ninth and 10th innings but could not find a way to win.
“Everyone wants to play well at home and it hasn’t happened. We have to figure out how to do that,’’ Dustin Pedroia said. “We haven’t played very well.’’
Franklin Morales, a reliever who can’t figure out Fenway, took the loss.
Matt Wieters singled with one out in the 13th for the Orioles. Wilson Betemit then walked before Chris Davis had an RBI single. Mark Reynolds’s sacrifice fly off Scott Atchison scored Betemit.
Since being acquired from the Rockies a year ago, Morales has allowed two earned runs in 20 2/3 innings on the road and 17 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings at Fenway.
“He gave up a changeup base hit, 3-2 walk, and a ground ball through the infield. I mean, it wasn’t terrible,’’ manager Bobby Valentine said.
Troy Patton (1-0) was the winner with Jim Johnson getting his eighth save. The Baltimore bullpen has gone 18 2/3 innings without giving up a run.
Until Morales gave it up, it was a solid night for the Sox bullpen.
Vicente Padilla allowed the tying run in the seventh before Rich Hill got the final out of the inning. Matt Albers then worked two innings before Alfredo Aceves came in.
He threw 38 pitches over 2 2/3 innings, striking out six of the 10 batters he faced.
Sox starter Jon Lester came into the game 14-0 with a 2.36 earned run average in 18 starts against the Orioles. Only one pitcher has bettered that in the last 50 years. Roy Oswalt was 15-0 against the Reds from 2001-05.
Lester allowed three runs on five hits over six innings. He retired seven of the last eight batters he faced but was finished after six innings and 99 pitches.
The lefty threw 122 pitches against the White Sox last Saturday, which helped lead to his shorter outing on Friday.
“You’d have to ask Bobby. He tells me when to go out there and when to be done. I was a little surprised when I walked down the stairs and he was there and he shook my hand,’’ Lester said. “I don’t know the thinking behind it. I always feel like I can go longer. Even after my last start I had 122 pitches, I’ll go out there and pitch until I’m dead - I don’t care. I just want to pitch.’’
The Orioles did all they could to help the Sox in the first two innings. There were three errors, a passed ball, and starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen walked two. But the result was only one run.
Ross started the second inning with a triple to center field. Darnell McDonald then walked. Marlon Byrd popped to right field, too shallow to score the run. Kelly Shoppach then struck out.
The Sox caught a break when catcher Ronny Paulino couldn’t handle a fastball from Chen and Ross scored when the ball rolled away.
Baltimore tied it when Reynolds homered into the Monster Seats in the third inning.
The Sox added two runs in the third inning. Gonzalez snapped an 0-for-18 streak with a single to left field. He took third when Pedroia doubled down the left-field line and scored when David Ortiz grounded to second. Ross’s sacrifice fly gave the Sox a 3-1 lead.
The Sox took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning. Rookie Will Middlebrooks, who was moved up to second in the batting order after getting two hits in his debut on Wednesday, led off with a double to left. He took third when Gonzalez flied to deep center field and scored on a single to center by Pedroia.
The game ended at 11:48 p.m. As he walked out of the clubhouse, Pedroia was asked what is needed to turn the Red Sox around.
“Sleep,’’ he said.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.