BOSTON (CBS) – Joel Hanrahan started his Red Sox career with three shutout innings and going three-for-three in save opportunities.
He’s hoping those results are more of the norm than his performance on Wednesday night.
Hanrahan blew a two-run lead to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, surrendering five runs in the ninth inning as the Red Sox fell 8-5.
The new Sox closer entered the game with a 5-3 lead, but that was quickly cut in half when Chris Davis led the inning off with a solo home run. He struck out Matt Wieters and got J.J. Hardy to fly out for two quick outs, but it was the third and final out that escaped Hanrahan, and Baltimore made him pay.
Orioles second baseman Ryan Flaherty, who began the season 0-for-17, hit a line a single into left to give the Orioles some life, and a pair of walks followed to load the bases. Nate McClouth’s free pass came on a border-line pitch in a full count, and the call seemed to have thrown Hanrahan off a bit. His next pitch was a wild one in the dirt, allowing pinch running Alexi Casilla to tie the game at 5-5, and Manny Machado took the next pitch into the monster seats to give Baltimore the 8-5 lead.
That was it for Hanrahan, who walked off the mound allowing five runs off three hits, two homers and two walks.
“I felt fine; I got ahead of a couple guys and just didn’t put guys away,” Hanrahan said after the game. “I got a couple outs (but) after that I was all over the place — walked a couple guys, threw a wild pitch and then the homer. When you get those two outs you have to put guys away.”
“I was probably trying to go a little too hard, make things happen with my arm instead of trust my mechanics,” he explained. “Sometimes you get into a tight situation and you try to go harder. As athletes you tell yourself to slow down and relax, but it’s not that easy.”
Hanrahan, who admitted to overthrowing for the later part of the inning, has now allowed home runs in back-to-back games for the first time since April of 2009.
But as closers usually do, Hanrahan won’t let this one haunt him for very long.
“It’s not going to be hard (to get over it). I’ll come here tomorrow and be ready to go,” he said confidently. “It’s not the first save I’ve blown and it won’t be the last. That’s part of the game, how it goes sometimes.”