BOSTON – Aaron Cook had a rough Red Sox debut. It fit right into how things have been going lately at Fenway Park.
Cook was knocked out in the third inning and Boston dropped its ninth in 10 games at home, falling to the Baltimore Orioles 8-2 on Saturday.
The right-hander, called up to take Josh Beckett's turn in the rotation, was spiked in the second inning as he covered home plate, but stayed in the game.
"It was my decision. I wanted to go out there. I wanted to go and eat some innings," said Cook. "I know our bullpen has been kind of taxed. I don't know if it was the best decision, but it was what I wanted to do."
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the second when Chris Davis scored on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's passed ball. Cook was spiked by Davis' slide as the pitcher came sliding knees-first trying to block the plate. Cook was looked at by a Red Sox trainer on the field then headed down the dugout steps and Clayton Mortensen came trotting in from the bullpen before Cook came back out and the reliever headed back to the pen.
"With the short bullpen, I thought we were going to get lucky," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I thought about taking him out immediately. I brought in the guy from the bullpen. The medical staff said he'd be fine. ... I told him, 'Cookie it's on you, man.'"
Cook said he got 11 stitches after he was pulled.
Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer and Jason Hammel continued his strong start this season for the Orioles. Adam Jones added a two-run homer for Baltimore, which won its fourth straight and 10th in the last 12 games.
Hammel (4-1) limited the Red Sox to a pair of first-inning hits and held them scoreless until he gave up two runs in the seventh.
Adrian Gonzalez had three hits for Boston.
Cook (0-1), signed as a minor league free agent in January, was making his first start after Beckett was skipped due to soreness.
The Orioles, who go for a three-game sweep Sunday, built an 8-0 lead after three.
Hammel retired 16 of 17 batters, allowing only David Ortiz's fourth-inning walk after the hits in the first before Gonzalez reached on an infield hit and scored on Ryan Sweeney's RBI double.
The right-hander, acquired from Colorado during the offseason, gave up two runs, four hits, struck out eight and walked one over 6 2-3 innings, raising his ERA to 2.09 from 1.97.
In four of his five previous starts, he was lifted with Baltimore having scored three runs or fewer. His last start was a 2-1 loss at the New York Yankees on Monday.
The Orioles gave him plenty of run support this time.
Leading 1-0, six of eight batters collected hits and another walked as Baltimore chased Cook with six runs in the third. The two outs came on Robert Andino's liner to left and Endy Chavez being caught on the front end of a double-steal attempt at third.
Nick Markakis had an RBI single before Jones belted a homer over the Green Monster seats and completely out of Fenway. Wilson Betemit, the last batter Cook faced, had an RBI single after Matt Wieters doubled and Davis singled, making it 5-0.
Mortensen relieved and Reynolds homered into the Monster seats. Reynolds also hit his first home run of the season in Friday's win.
NOTES: Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said before the game that veteran infielder Miguel Tejada will report to the team's spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday to take a physical. ... Showalter also said that LHP Zach Britton, rehabbing from left shoulder inflammation, threw 47 pitches in Sarasota and he "felt good." ... Valentine said before the game that 3B Kevin Youkilis, on the 15-day DL with a strained lower back, had an MRI today. Valentine did not know the results. ... Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks was a late scratch with a sore left hamstring. ... Mortensen went 3 1-3, giving up two hits and striking out five. ... Cook was 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA with Triple-A Pawtucket.