BOSTON — Crazy things happen when the Orioles come to Boston.
This wasn't a 17-inning game. No position players had to pitch. But the comeback the Orioles staged Wednesday night was one they needed to salvage this three-game series at Fenway Park.
Trailing by two runs, the Orioles rallied for a five-run ninth inning against Boston closer Joel Hanrahan, capped by Manny Machado's three-run homer over the Green Monster in left field that gave them a dramatic 8-5 win.
“It was a huge win for us,” Machado said. “We were really never ahead the whole game, and to come out with the victory, it is really going to give us the big boost we needed to get this show going.”
First baseman Chris Davis opened the ninth with his team-leading fifth homer of the season, a mammoth shot to straightaway center. With two outs and the Orioles (4-4) still trailing by a run, second baseman Ryan Flaherty, mired in an 0-for-17 slump to open the season, singled through the hole at short. Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth walked to load the bases for Machado.
Hanrahan's first pitch to Machado was wild, allowing pinch-runner Alexi Casilla to score the tying run.
Then Machado took a 95-mph fastball from Hanrahan — who threw 32 pitches in the inning — over the Green Monster, silencing what was left of an announced crowd of 30,862, the first nonsellout at Fenway in 795 regular-season games.
Up until Machado's game-winning hit — which was his first career homer in the ninth inning or later — the Orioles struck out 13 times and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Machado had come to the plate with just one hit in his previous 18 at-bats.
“I've been sticking with the approach that I've had the whole season, sticking to it and not trying to change anything,” Machado said. “That's how you dig yourself into a deeper hole. I just went up there trying to stay with the same approach I've had. And it paid off, finally.”
The Orioles have won 10 of their last 14 against the Red Sox (5-3) and 12 of their last 17 at Fenway. This victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Orioles, with all of those losses coming by two runs or less.
After a 43-minute rain delay, Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter allowed back-to-back homers to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead. After Hunter exited, the Orioles bullpen threw three perfect relief innings, including a scoreless ninth from closer Jim Johnson, who earned his third save.
“Our guys battled,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “[It was] a really nasty night to play. It's very easy to give in, but it was a battle and I'm real proud of them. Their bullpen is something. To be able to string together an inning like that [is something]. ...
“You try to stay in the moment, but you also make sure they know you've got a memory of what they're capable of.”
The rain delay came after Orioles starter Jake Arrieta retired the top of the Red Sox lineup in order in the bottom of the fifth. The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits through five innings but was replaced by Hunter when play resumed.
Hunter struck out the first two hitters he faced, including Will Middlebrooks in an 11-pitch at bat.
But he left a 1-1, 96-mph fastball pitch to Daniel Nava up in the zone, and Nava hit his second homer against the Orioles in as many games.
Hunter then made another mistake to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, throwing another 96-mph fastball on a 1-2 pitch that split the plate and landed over the Orioles bullpen and into the right field seats.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Machado's fly ball dropped between Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and right fielder Shane Victorino for a two-base error on Ellsbury. That moved McLouth, who walked to open the game to third. McLouth scored on Nick Markakis' groundout.
Arrieta hurt himself with four walks — two of them came around to score. He issued a two-out walk in the second to Nava, who came around to score on Saltalamacchia's double off the wall in left-center field to tie the game at 1.
Arrieta then issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. to open the third. Ellsbury lined a ball down the left field line that skipped past a diving McLouth and rolled to the wall for a triple, scoring Bradley to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Victorino's sacrifice fly to left plated Ellsbury to give Boston a two-run cushion.
Arrieta then issued back-to-back walks — both on four pitches — to Pedroia and Mike Napoli before getting out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of Middlebrooks.
The Orioles rallied against Boston right-hander Ryan Dempster in the fourth. Markakis led off the inning with his first homer of the season, placing a 1-0 hanging curveball into the Red Sox bullpen beyond the right-center field wall. Adam Jones followed with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Matt Wieters' single to left. Bradley bobbled the ball, allowing Jones to score and tie the game.
The Orioles stranded runners at first and second with one out that inning after Flaherty struck out and Reimold grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice.