Mortensen strong after cleaning up mess

May, 5, 2012
Cody RossJim Rogash/Getty ImagesAfter serving up a homer to the first batter he faced -- accounting for the Orioles' final 3 runs in a 7-run third, above -- Clayton Mortensen again pitched well in relief.
BOSTON -- He was in. Then he was out. Then he was back in again.

It was a topsy-turvy day for Boston reliever Clayton Mortensen on Saturday at Fenway Park, complete with a strange sequence of events in the second inning, one bad pitch in the third inning and some great overall numbers in the Red Sox's 8-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Mortensen's personal drama began with two outs in the second when starter Aaron Cook suffered a gashed left knee while covering the plate on a passed ball that gift-wrapped the Orioles' first run of the day.

When Bobby Valentine saw the injury, the Sox called down to the bullpen to bring in Mortensen. So he went running onto the field ready to pitch. But after Cook got his knee wrapped, he wanted to try to continue.

Mortensen didn't know what was going on with Cook as he ran onto the field. But he was expecting to pitch and the next thing he knew, he was being told to go back to the bullpen.

"That was weird," said Mortensen. "They called down there (the bullpen) and said 'Get Mortensen in the game.' When I was walking to the mound, everyone was pointing for me to go to the dugout. You never see everything in this game. There's something new every day."

Mortensen never got on the mound or threw a warm-up pitch, so he wasn't officially announced as being in the game. So Cook was allowed to stay in. When Mortensen ran back to the bullpen to get ready just in case Cook faltered, it was if he had never gone on the field at all.

Cook wasn't able to pitch effectively. So Mortensen was officially called in with two on and two outs in the third with Boston already down, 5-0. He was greeted by Mark Reynolds' three-run homer into the Monster seats on a 2-and-2 pitch.

"I tried to sneak a fastball inside past him, but it got too much of the plate. He's a dangerous hitter. It was a horrible pitch by me and he put a good swing on it," said Mortensen.

That made it an 8-0 game, and basically sealed the Sox's doom. Mortensen was lights-out after the horse had left the barn, eating 3 1/3 innings for a tired bullpen, striking out five and permitting only two hits. Since being called up from Pawtucket on Wednesday, the right-hander has whiffed 11 in 6 1/3 innings with no walks and only three hits allowed.



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