Kimbrel allows 3-run HR for first time in career

New Red Sox closer enters in ninth inning of tie game, takes loss to O's

Kimbrel allows 3-run HR for first time in career

BOSTON -- In his entire career, Craig Kimbrel had never given up an Earl Weaver special.

So it figures it was the Orioles -- and Chris Davis -- who finally showed Boston's new closer what it feels like to give up a three-run homer. The blast to straightaway center snapped a tie with two outs in the top of the ninth and handed the Red Sox a 9-7 loss in their home opener.

Davis jumped on an 0-1 pitch that crossed home plate at 97 miles per hour. According to Statcast™, it left the bat at 111-mph and traveled a projected 426 feet. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. didn't even bother pursuing the no-doubter.

Kimbrel will undoubtedly win his share of power vs. power matchups in his time with the Red Sox. But he lost this one. Of the 19 career homers Kimbrel has allowed in 358 career outings, this was the first that came with more than one runner on base.

"Oh, I'll give up my fair share [of homers]," said Kimbrel. "When you throw hard and it hits the barrel, it goes a long ways. I have to kind of minimize that."

When Kimbrel entered a tie game to start the ninth, the Red Sox envisioned being able to win the game with one hit in the bottom of the inning.

"Anytime he comes in you're going to have a positive mindset," said Mookie Betts. "He's pretty much a shutdown pitcher. He walked a couple of guys and Chris Davis was able to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it."

Yes, the walks were a killer, particularly in hindsight: Betts led off Boston's ninth with a solo shot over the Green Monster.

Betts' solo homer

"I think I was falling off a little bit, I was kind of yanking the ball," said Kimbrel. "I just wanted to throw it over the plate."

Davis was the fifth batter for the Orioles in the ninth. In other words, Kimbrel blames himself for having to face him in the first place.

"I went out there and kind of beat myself. I can't be walking guys in that situation. Davis put a good swing on the pitch and it went a long ways," Kimbrel said. "It was disappointing. I felt like David [Price] went out there and battled all day and the offense gave us a chance. I went out there -- I'm frustrated. I went out there and kind of beat myself. I can't be walking guys in that situation."

The first walk was particularly irking to Kimbrel in that it came against No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph. The second was with two outs, but at least it was against the dangerous Manny Machado.

Up stepped Davis, who silenced the crowd at Fenway.

"That was a fastball down and away," said Kimbrel. "He's a great low-ball hitter and he got the barrel of the bat to it and he did what he does. I missed. He hit it over the fence. It was a bad pitch."

But the Red Sox hope to take their chances with Kimbrel again on Tuesday.

"It happens," said Price, who also had a tough home debut, giving up five runs. "We're human. He's one of the best closers in all of baseball. Definitely happy to have him on our team. If there's a save situation tomorrow, he's going to be right back out there. I still have confidence in him, and I know he has confidence in himself. That stuff happens."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.