One of the many oddities for the Red Sox during the 2010 season was a sudden end to their dominance of the Baltimore Orioles. After going 55-17 against the Orioles from 2006-09, Boston split the season series with their American League East foes last year.
Turns out that was just an aberration.
Boston is back to beating the stuffing out of the O's, and it continues to do so in embarrassing fashion. Monday's 15-10 win, which featured a seemingly interminable eight-run Red Sox eighth, was the latest example of the disparity between the division's first- and last-place teams.
With the victory, Boston has won seven straight over Baltimore, averaging 8.7 runs a game in that streak. Monday's effort saw the Sox record 16 hits, including five in the eighth, when 12 men came to the plate against three Orioles relievers.
All this just hours after the Red Sox landed in Baltimore following their 16-inning win at Tampa Bay that ended just before 2 a.m. Monday.
"It speaks for itself," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the wild 24-hour stretch. "Getting in at 6:30 in the morning. It's tough, but it's part of the game sometimes and the fact that we put 15 runs on the board is a good sign."
It also helps when the opponent is a mere pushover.
Boston outscored Baltimore 32-13 in its four-game sweep at Fenway Park earlier in the month. The nature of that series seemed to set off one major bench-clearing brawl and a handful of other smaller near-incidents.
It remains to be seen how the Orioles will react the longer this one-sidedness lasts. What's clear is their inability to slow down this juggernaut of an offense, which is now hitting .327 (108-for-330) with 14 home runs in nine games versus the O's in 2011.
Baltimore actually had a 7-6 lead entering the seventh inning Monday. Kevin Youkilis singled in Jacoby Ellsbury in that inning to tie it, simply setting the stage for an eighth inning that encapsulated one of the many discrepancies between these two teams right now.
While Boston's bullpen has excelled of late, Baltimore's remains substandard. Dan Wheeler gave the Sox 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the slack an ineffective Tim Wakefield, but the Orioles simply couldn't find the right combination in the eighth.
Mike Gonzalez started the inning by loading the bases with one out. That prompted Baltimore manager Buck Showalter to bring in Mark Worrell, a right-hander with a spastic delivery and an overly caffeinated demeanor on the mound, something that takes a little getting used to.
Dustin Pedroia needed six pitches to feel it out before sending a double to the wall in right that scored two runs to break the tie. Kevin Youkilis singled in two more moments later to chase Worrell. On came Chris Jakubauskas, who did not fare much better, giving up an RBI single to Carl Crawford to make it 12-7 and a bases-clearing double to Darnell McDonald that amounted to a knockout blow.
"This is a good offensive team," said Crawford, who had two hits in his return from the disabled list. "I guess hitting is contagious and we did a good job of getting [hits] back to back."
Unfortunately for Boston, it won't see Baltimore for roughly two months after this series. But if the Red Sox find themselves still fighting for something in the final two weeks of the season, they can rest easy. Six of their final nine games are against the Orioles, and its clear that the dominance has returned.