Red Sox-Orioles Live: Nick Markakis’ Four-Hit Effort Powers O’s to 6-3 Win in Series Finale

LesterFinal, Orioles 6-3: Jim Johnson had no problem handling the ninth-inning duties.

Shane Victorino, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks went down in order against the Orioles closer, and Baltimore finishes the series with a 6-3 win. The O’s took three of four from the Red Sox, and they’re now just 1 1/2 games back in the American League East.

Jon Lester suffered the loss on Sunday, and he’s now winless in his last six starts — going 0-4 in that stretch. Lester’s control was better on Sunday, as he didn’t walk anyone, but the Orioles jumped all over the left-hander.

Lester threw 106 pitches (75 strikes) over five innings. He surrendered five earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight.

The Orioles scored three runs with two outs in the third inning. Adam Jones drove in the first run with an RBI double, and Chris Davis added two runs to the lead with his major league-leading 23rd home run of the season. The O’s added two runs in the fifth inning and one more in the seventh.

Nick Markakis powered Baltimore’s offense with a 4-for-5 effort. He had two doubles and scored three runs out of the leadoff spot while Miguel Gonzalez turned in a solid performance on the mound.

All three of the Red Sox’ runs came on a three-run homer by Will Middlebrooks. Jose Iglesias extended his hit streak to 17 games.

The Red Sox will be off on Monday, and they’ll then play a doubleheader on Tuesday against the Rays. See you all then.

Good night, everyone.

End 8th, Orioles 6-3: Nick Markakis is doing it with the glove and the bat.

Markakis hit a two-out single into center field, giving him four hits for the game. He has also scored three runs, although he didn’t come across in the eighth inning.

The Orioles had runners at the corners, but Andrew Miller exited the inning unharmed.

Orioles closer Jim Johnson will now take over. Shane Victorino, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks are due up in the ninth inning.

Mid 8th, Orioles 6-3: Jose Iglesias extended his hit streak to 17 games.

Surprise, surprise; Iglesias’ eighth-inning single was an infield hit — something we’re used to seeing out of the hot-hitting infielder.

That was the only offense the Red Sox had in the eighth, although Nick Markakis made a couple of nice plays on balls that had the potential to drop.

After Daniel Nava flied out to the edge of the warning track in left field, David Ortiz struck a sinking line drive to right. Markakis came in and made a sliding grab to take away a hit.

Tommy Hunter then replaced Brian Matusz on the mound, and he needed just one pitch to end the inning. Jonny Gomes drilled a hooking line drive to right field, but Markakis made a running grab.

End 7th, Orioles 6-3: Will Middlebrooks’ home run gave the Red Sox some momentum, but the Orioles snatched it right back.

Junichi Tazawa started the bottom of the seventh inning, and the O’s quickly got to him for a run.

Nick Markakis led off with a double over Jonny Gomes’ head in left field, and he moved up to third base when Manny Machado dropped down a sacrifice bunt. J.J. Hardy plated Markakis with a single into left field.

Adam Jones put up an eight-pitch battle against Tazawa before hammering a ball deep to right-center field. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino gave chase, but the ball got down and then bounced up into the seats for a ground-rule double.

Andrew Miller took over for the struggling Tazawa, and he struck out both Chris Davis and Matt Wieters with runners at second and third. The Red Sox caught a break by Jones’ double bouncing up into the seats, but the Orioles are certainly in the driver’s seat after posting another run.

Mid 7th, Orioles 5-3: Middlebrooks’ home run has the Red Sox back in this thing.

It came after Mike Carp doubled down the left field line and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled into right field.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Carp exited the game after advancing to third base on Salty’s single. He appeared to pull up a bit while coasting into second base on his double, and he clearly wasn’t running at full speed while taking third base.

Shane Victorino entered the game for Carp. He’ll head out to right field, while Daniel Nava will join the infield and play first base.

3:54 p.m., Orioles 5-3: There’s the Will Middlebrooks that Red Sox fans came to love last season.

Middlebrooks drove a three-run blast over the right field wall, and we suddenly have ourselves a ballgame.

End 6th, Orioles 5-0:  Pedro Beato, who was called up earlier in the day, took over for Jon Lester in the sixth inning.

Beato has shown an ability down in Triple-A to go multiple innings, and that could be the case in this one, especially since he needed just nine pitches to get through the sixth.

Beato struck out Danny Valencia to begin the inning. Steve Pearce flied out and Alexi Casilla popped out to third base.

Beato featured a heavy dose of offspeed stuff while facing Valencia before eventually going upstairs with a fastball to record the strikeout.

Lester exited after going five innings. He surrendered five earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight. He didn’t walk a batter, and he threw 106 pitches (75 strikes).

Lester’s control was there this time around, which is encouraging after his recent command issues, but the Orioles simply smacked him around.

Mid 6th, Orioles 5-0: The Red Sox had a chance to chip away in the fifth inning, and they let it slip through their fingertips.

Jacoby Ellsbury reached with a one-out single into right field, but the threat really received a boost when Jose Iglesias grounded to third base. The usually sure-handed Manny Machado couldn’t field the ball cleanly, and Iglesias reached at first while Ellsbury took second.

Daniel Nava almost cut into Baltimore’s lead with a drive to left-center field. Steve Pearce made a nice running grab at the warning track.

David Ortiz still had a chance to take some cuts with a couple of runners on, but he grounded out to first base to end the inning.

End 5th, Orioles 5-0: Jon Lester hasn’t walked anyone. It doesn’t matter. The Orioles have still gotten to the left-hander.

Lester, whose command has been the biggest issue of late, has now surrendered five runs after the O’s struck for two more in the fifth inning.

Nick Markakis led off with a double, and he scored when Manny Machado singled into center field. The play was even more disastrous, though, because Machado ended up on third base.

Jacoby Ellsbury came up firing to the plate as Markakis headed home. Machado took off for second on the throw, which Mike Carp cut off. Carp made the right decision, but his attempt to throw out Machado at second sailed into center field, enabling Machado to move up to third base.

Jon Lester struck out the next two hitters — J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones. Chris dropped a two-out double down the left field line, though, and Machado came across with Baltimore’s fifth run.

Lester’s day may be done, as Boston had action up in the bullpen. The lefty has thrown 106 pitches in what has been a struggle throughout.

Mid 5th, Orioles 3-0: Mike Carp represented a rare baserunner for the Red Sox. But he wasn’t out there very long.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out to right field with one down in the inning.

Will Middlebrooks, who flashed some leather in the bottom of the fourth, then grounded into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.

Miguel Gonzalez is cruising right along for the Orioles right now.

End 4th, Orioles 3-0: Jon Lester did a nice job of bouncing back in the fourth inning, although he received some help from Will Middlebrooks.

Danny Valencia, who singled in his last at-bat, grounded out to Middlebrooks at third base for the inning’s first out.

Steve Pearce then struck out swinging against Lester, who went to the curveball to pick up the K.

The inning’s highlight came when Alexi Casilla, who made a nice play to end the top of the third inning, hit a hot shot to the left side. Middlebrooks, who was playing in on the grass, made an excellent diving stop, popped up and fired to first to record the out.

Lester needed just eight pitches to get through the fourth inning. That’s huge after a 31-pitch third inning.

Mid 4th, Orioles 3-0: While Jon Lester struggles to find his way, Miguel Gonzalez is cruising along.

Gonzalez enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.

Daniel Nava tried to bunt his way on to lead off the inning, but Gonzalez came off the mound to make a play.

Gonzalez then retired David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes on a flyout and groundout, respectively.

End 3rd, Orioles 3-0: Jon Lester’s afternoon has taken a turn for the worse.

Lester, who worked around a few baserunners through the first two innings, surrendered three runs in the third, and the Orioles have seized control of the series finale.

The first run came on a bloop double by Adam Jones. Nick Markakis singled to lead off the third, and he moved up to second when Manny Machado flipped a fly ball to the warning track in left. Markakis scored when Jones dropped a ball down the left field line.

The big blow of the inning came off the bat of Chris Davis. The hot-hitting slugger belted a two-run jack into the right field seats, giving him a major league-leading 23 home runs on the season. Lester fell behind 3-1 against Davis, and he left a fastball right over the inside half of the plate. You can’t do that, folks.

Lester threw 31 pitches in the inning, and his pitch count is now up to 71.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Sometimes, when things are going bad, you just can’t catch a break.

Will Middlebrooks, who has been mired in a season-long slump, made solid contact after Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked to lead off the third inning. He drilled Miguel Gonzalez’s pitch toward the right-center field gap. Unfortunately for Middlebrooks, it hung up long enough for Nick Markakis to make a play.

Stephen Drew flied out for the second out, and Jacoby Ellsbury kept the inning going with a single into center.

Jose Iglesias, who is riding a 16-game hit streak, then hit a slow grounder to second base. Alexi Casilla made an excellent barehanded play and tossed to first to record the out.

Chris Davis, who initially charged after Iglesias’ grounder as well, needed to run back over to first base late to field Casilla’s throw. Upon doing so, he and Iglesias collided, although everyone seems OK.

End 2nd, 0-0: A couple of singles forced Jon Lester to the stretch in the second inning.

After Lester struck out Chris Davis to begin the second, Matt Wieters dropped a single into left field. Jonny Gomes was playing very deep, so while Wieters’ sinking liner probably would have been caught with a normal defensive alignment, it was able to get down in this particular instance.

Danny Valencia, who homered earlier in the series, then added a single of his own. He went the other way into right field to put runners at first and second with one out.

Lester, as he did in the first inning, worked around the baserunners to escape the inning unscathed.

Lester struck out Steve Pearce swinging for the second out. Pearce put up a good battle, fouling off three straight pitches before chasing a changeup down and out of the zone.

Alexi Casilla grounded to second base to end the inning.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Miguel Gonzalez has retired the first six batters he’s faced.

Gonzalez took care of David Ortiz, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp in the second inning. Ortiz hit a slow grounder to first base for the first out, and Gonzalez struck out Gomes and Carp to end the inning.

Gomes and Carp were both blown away by fastballs. Gomes fouled off a 1-1 fastball before fanning on the fourth pitch of the at-bat, and Carp struck out despite jumping ahead in the count 3-1.

End 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester needed to overcome a horrendous call in the first inning.

Manny Machado picked up his major league-leading 32nd double of the season with one out. The only problem was that the ball was clearly foul.

The ball bounced down the third base line and into the left field corner, but it was foul all the way. However, third base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that the ball traveled over the bag and was fair. The missed call immediately brought out John Farrell, who had a very animated chat with Nelson. It looked at one point like Farrell might get ejected for the first time as Red Sox manager, but Nelson refrained from tossing the Boston skipper. Perhaps he realized that he made the wrong call.

Lester did a nice job of making sure the “double” didn’t cost him. He struck out both J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones swinging. Both K’s came on four-seamers.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Bing, bing, bing. Down in order they go.

Miguel Gonzalez started his afternoon off on the right foot. He easily retired the Red Sox’ new-look top of the order in the first inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury popped out to short, Jose Iglesias grounded out to second and Daniel Nava flied out to center.

Alexi Casilla, getting the start at second base, was credited for an assist on the second out of the ballgame. He’ll be looking to bounce back in this one after a horrific baserunning blunder to end Saturday’s game.

1:37 p.m.: Miguel Gonzalez’s first pitch is a strike. Let’s get the ball rolling here.

1:05 p.m.: I’d like to wish a happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

12:58 p.m.: If Jon Lester is going to right the ship, this game might be a good place to start.

Lester is 14-1 in 21 career starts against the Orioles. His only loss came in his last start against the O’s on Sept. 21, 2012.

Lester is 7-0 with a 2.52 ERA in 10 career starts at Camden Yards.

12:40 p.m.:  You probably noticed that Mike Napoli is once again out of the Red Sox’ lineup. Napoli has been battling illness, and he was sent back to Boston to undergo tests on Saturday.

Mike Carp is playing in place of Napoli, and he’s been on an absolute tear of late. Carp enters the game with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games, and he’s hitting .400 in June.

Carp hit a rough patch in May, but he started the season hot, and his overall numbers are excellent despite sporadic playing time. Carp enters Sunday’s contest hitting .320 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 41 games (113 plate appearances).

Looking for an interesting stat? Carp’s .680 slugging percentage is the second-highest mark among major leaguers with at least 100 plate appearances. He trails only Orioles slugger Chris Davis (.684).

David Ortiz even said after Saturday’s game that he thinks Carp has the make-up of an everyday player, and he said that Carp reminds him a little bit of himself. For more on that relationship, check out the link below.

Click here to read about Mike Carp and David Ortiz >>

11:05 a.m.: Dustin Pedroia will finally get a day off. He has started every game this season, but John Farrell has decided to give his All-Star second baseman some rest in the series finale.

The Red Sox’ lineup is rather interesting with Pedroia out. Jose Iglesias will start at second base, and he’ll bat second — it’s his first time starting in either capacity.

Shane Victorino will also be out of the lineup, which means Daniel Nava will play right field. Nava will bat third as part of the lineup shakeup.

The rest of Sunday’s lineup are below.

Red Sox (42-28)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jose Iglesias, 2B
Daniel Nava, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
Mike Carp, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS

Jon Lester, LHP (6-3, 4.12 ERA)

Orioles (39-20)
Nick Markakis, RF
Manny Machado, 3B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
Danny Valencia, DH
Steve Pearce. LF
Alexi Casilla 2B

Miguel Gonzalez, RHP (4-2, 3.71 ERA)

8 a.m. ET: After one inning on Saturday, it looked as if the Orioles were going to roll to their third straight win over the Red Sox. Eight innings later, however, it was the Red Sox who stood tall.

John Lackey overcame a shaky first inning in which he gave up two runs on four hits before ever recording an out. He ended up going seven innings while limiting Baltimore’s offense to just those two runs, and Boston staved off a ferocious ninth-inning rally to earn the victory.

Jon Lester will try to salvage a split for Boston on Sunday. He’s really been struggling of late, but the Red Sox absolutely need him to get back on track, especially with Clay Buchholz’s status still up in the air because of a neck injury.

Lester enters Sunday’s series finale with an 0-3 record and 6.90 ERA in his last five starts. He hasn’t won since May 15, after which his record improved to 6-0 and his ERA stood at 2.72. The left-hander now owns a 6-3 record overall and a 4.12 ERA.

Lester needs to bounce back in order to prove he’s a legitimate ace — or at least a legitimate No. 2 starter behind Buchholz — but Sunday’s start is about more than that. The Orioles have jumped ahead of the struggling Yankees in the American League East, and every matchup between these two clubs is meaningful.

Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here for some added fun.

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