After taking the first three games of their four-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore, the Red Sox were unable to come away with the series sweep following a 4-1 loss at Camden Yards on Monday.
Martin Perez made his seventh start of the season for Boston and was impressive, allowing just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over five innings of work.
The one run Perez gave up came on a leadoff home run off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle to begin things in the second inning.
Outside of that, Perez held the O’s in check and retired nine of the last 11 hitters he faced going into the end of the fifth.
At that point, the 30-year-old had thrown just 74 pitches (53 strikes) through five one-run innings. But with the middle of Baltimore’s lineup — including Mountcastle — due to hit in the sixth, Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to pull Perez, who lowered his ERA on the season to 4.01, in favor of right-hander Matt Andriese.
That decision would prove to haunt Cora almost immediately, as Andriese served up a solo homer to the very first hitter he saw in Trey Mancini, whose seventh big fly of the season gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
In the eighth, Andriese induced a pop fly off the bat of Cedric Mullins, but because the Red Sox were playing in a shift and had third baseman Rafael Devers playing in in the event of a bunt, that pop fly wound up going for a 70.7 mph, 161-foot triple that Xander Bogaerts was unable to come up with cleanly.
Mullins came into score on an RBI single from Mancini, and the Orioles tacked on yet another run to their lead on a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-1 game.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez, someone they got to for seven runs on eight hits last month.
This time around, however, Lopez proved to be a much tougher opponent considering he held Boston to one run — a Devers sacrifice fly — over five innings on Monday.
The Sox had the chance to add to their run total in Lopez’s final frame of work when Hunter Renfroe blistered a leadoff double to the opposite field in the top half of the fifth.
A slumping Franchy Cordero was able to advance Renfroe 90 feet on a groundout, but neither Bobby Dalbec nor Marwin Gonzalez could do anything from there as they both went down swinging to end the inning and strand the runner at third.
All in all, the Red Sox collected just four hits as a team on Monday and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position while leaving four runners on base.
Boston is now 6-1 at Camden Yards this season as their four-game winning streak was snapped.
Next up: Welcoming in the A’s
The 22-14 Red Sox will head back to Boston and welcome the 21-15 first-place Athletics into town for the first of a three-game series at Fenway Park Tuesday night.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Chris Bassitt for Oakland.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Martin Perez: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)