BALTIMORE — The Red Sox knew defending their World Series championship was going to be difficult. But now it has become embarrassing.
The Sox were beaten again, 6-0, by the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. Three nights at Camden Yards produced one run and two extra-base hits.
It was the first time since April 21-23, 1993, that the Red Sox scored one run over a span of three games.
The Red Sox slink back to Fenway Park on Thursday after a 2-7 road trip that saw them outscored, 42-23, by the Indians, Tigers, and Orioles. The Sox were 8 of 44 (.182) with runners in scoring position during the nine games and left 66 runners on base.
Manager John Farrell and the players credited good pitching on the part of the Orioles. But the lack of offense is part of a season-long trend.
“One run in 27 innings is extremely difficult,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to do a better job offensively all the way around.”
By the end of the night on Wednesday, the Sox had sat through a long rain delay only to see reliever Chris Capuano walk in two runs in the eighth inning in front of a crowd of about 500.
It was the worst three-game series for the Red Sox since they were shut out three times by the Texas Rangers from April 27-29, 1981.
“We haven’t been swinging the bats good,” said Dustin Pedroia, who had two of the Red Sox’ four hits. “It seems like when we do hit the ball it’s right at somebody. We get a rally going and they find a way to stop it quick. You’ve got to keep fighting through it. That’s all we can do.”
Rubby De La Rosa allowed four runs before he was lifted in the sixth inning. Lefthander Wei-Yin Chen went seven innings for the Orioles, allowing four hits, all singles.
The first five hitters in the lineup — Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Mike Napoli — were 2 for 17. Bogaerts was 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
“I’m human. We all make mistakes, we all struggle, we all go through tough stretches. I’m going through a tough stretch,” Bogaerts said. “I’m going to be fine. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. I’ll be fine.”
The Red Sox were six games out of first place when left on the trip. They return nine games behind.
Even the schedule and the weather works against the Red Sox these days.
The Sox open a series against the Indians at Fenway on Thursday. Cleveland had a day game in Kansas City and arrived in Boston before midnight. The Red Sox had a night game that was delayed by rain for 1 hour and 38 minutes in the seventh inning. They didn’t leave the park until after 1 a.m.
De La Rosa (1-2) had an impressive start against the Tampa Bay Rays May 31, throwing seven shutout innings and striking out eight without a walk. It was the kind of performance that gave hope to the idea the hard-throwing righthander was on the verge of realizing his vast potential.
In retrospect, that start may have revealed as much about the Rays, who have scored the fewest runs in the American League, as it did De La Rosa.
In his two starts since, De La Rosa has allowed eight runs on 16 hits (three of them home runs) over 11⅓ innings.
“Word spreads around this league about what an individual pitcher will go to,” Farrell said. “Tonight was a very good learning experience.”
The Orioles went to work on De La Rosa in the first inning. No. 2 hitter Steve Pearce drew a walk and scored on a double to left field by Adam Jones.
With two outs, De La Rosa left a changeup up and over the plate and Chris Davis hammered it to right field for his 10th home run.
“I don’t know. Maybe they are,” De La Rosa said when asked if the Orioles were sitting on his offspeed pitches.
The Orioles took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning. J.J. Hardy singled with one out before singles by Jonathan Shoop and Nick Hundley scored the run.
De La Rosa touched 97 with his fastball several times and struck out seven against two walks. The quality of his fastball and changeup suggest he could be valuable as a late-inning reliever if he does not develop as a starter. But at 25, the Red Sox are sure to give De La Rosa more chances as a starter, especially if they fall out of contention.
As Baltimore bunched together hits, the Red Sox were feeble against Chen (7-2).
The lefthander from Taiwan retired the first 11 batters in a row, six by strikeout. Pedroia broke up the perfect game — and a personal 0-for-11 slump — with a line drive into right field in the fourth inning.
But when Pedroia tried to go to second, the strong-armed Nick Markakis threw him out easily to end the inning.
Ortiz singled to lead off the fifth inning. Napoli then popped up before Jonny Gomes grounded into a double play.
A.J. Pierzynski singled to start the sixth. Slumping center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., back in the lineup after a two-day break, was hit by a pitch.
The Red Sox finally had a runner in scoring position with the top of their order coming up. But the threat lasted five pitches as Holt grounded into a double play.
Pedroia singled to center field with one out in the seventh inning. This time it was Ortiz who grounded into the inning-ending double play. The Red Sox have hit into 59 double plays, fourth in the AL.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.