Live Blog: Orioles at Red Sox


Jul 24, 2009

Live Blog: Orioles at Red SoxThe Red Sox walked into Fenway Park on Friday afternoon riding their longest losing streak of the season; they'll walk out having left that streak in the dust.

Brad Penny pitched six solid innings and part of a seventh, leaving after 108 pitches with zero earned runs to his name. Penny struck out four Baltimore hitters and walked zero, allowing just five baserunners on the night.

Brad Bergesen was the tough-luck loser for Baltimore, throwing six innings of his own and keeping Boston scoreless until the fourth, when the Sox broke through. Three straight hits were capped off by a Jason Varitek RBI single, and Boston never trailed after Jed Lowrie plated the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth inning for the Red Sox, earning his 25th save.

Final: Red Sox 3, Orioles 1.

Papelbon makes everyone sweat a little, letting the bases fill up via two singles and a walk, but he eventually comes back to finish the Orioles off, striking out the final two hitters including Melvin Mora on a 3-2 pitch. Papelbon earns his 25th save of the season, becoming the fourth pitcher in baseball to reach that mark this season — following Brian Fuentes, Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan.

End 8th, 3-1 Sox: Another quick inning — we're heading to the ninth, and neither side has notched a hit since the top of the seventh. Baez gets two groundouts and a flyout to quickly retire the 7-8-9 portion of the Red Sox' order; closer Jonathan Papelbon will now come in to face the 2-3-4 of the Baltimore lineup.

Middle 8th, 3-1 Sox: Three batters, three flyouts to J.D. Drew in right field. Okajima throws 10 pitches and gets out of the eighth inning hardly breaking a sweat; the Sox are now three outs away from snapping that streak. Danys Baez will pitch the bottom of the eighth for Baltimore.

End 7th, 3-1 Sox: Matt Albers comes in to relieve Bergesen in the seventh inning, and he does so in impressive fashion. He strikes out Youkilis and Ortiz back-to-back to begin the seventh inning, and after walking Bay, he gets J.D. Drew to fly out to left.

Hideki Okajima will enter to pitch the eighth for the Red Sox, now just six outs away from snapping their longest losing streak of the season.

Middle 7th, 3-1 Sox: Francona opts to leave Penny in the game well past the 100-pitch mark, and he regrets it later. Penny gives up a one-out double to Nolan Reimold on his 108th pitch of the night, and that brings Tito out of the dugout to yank Penny. Manny Delcarmen comes in to finish the inning, and he does so nicely, getting a groundout and a strikeout to keep Baltimore scoreless in the seventh.

End 6th, 3-1 Sox: Wow. Not sure whether to be more impressed by Nick Markakis or Matt Wieters. The two collaborate on a superb play to end the sixth inning and keep the Sox off the board, gunning down Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate trying to score on a Dustin Pedroia single. Wieters holds on at the plate after a rough collision with the Sox' speedster, and we're headed to the seventh. Great play.

Middle 6th, 3-1 Sox: Penny steps up like a true workhorse, plowing past the century mark and finishing with 102 pitches in six innings tonight. He sets down the top of the Orioles' order 1-2-3 in the sixth, likely finishing his night with zero earned runs and only four total baserunners.

End 5th, 3-1 Sox: In the fifth, J.D. Drew proves that it pays to run out grounders. With runners at the corners and one out, Drew hits an easy roller to second — it appears to be a double play to end the inning, but Drew hightails it down the line and beats the throw to first. Instead of ending the Sox' threat, Drew scores Kevin Youkilis with an RBI fielder's choice. 3-1 Boston, heading to the sixth.

Middle 5th, 2-1 Sox: Great point made by Edes on the TV broadcast: After 90 pitches (he's now at 91), Penny's velocity hasn't gone anywhere, still lingering in the mid-nineties. He gets out of the fifth easily, thanks to a 6-4-3 double play grounded into by Cesar Izturis; he's now pitched five innings with zero earned runs, allowing four singles and zero walks.

End 4th, 2-1 Sox: After getting the lead man on against Bergesen in four straight innings, the Red Sox finally break through. The Sox produce three straight hits to start the bottom of the fourth — Drew singles, Lowell doubles and Varitek singles to score the tying run. With Lowell at third base, a flyout to right from Jed Lowrie is enough to plate the go-ahead tally.

8:23 p.m.: A note on tonight's broadcast, just to clear up any confusion: Tonight's color man alongside Don Orsillo is Gordon Edes, a national baseball columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Edes was a longtime baseball writer for the Boston Globe before leaving a year ago to pursue a career in online journalism. NESN is proud to have Edes in the booth this weekend while Dennis Eckersley pays a visit to Cooperstown.

Middle 4th, 1-0 O's: Another inning, another stellar catch for Jacoby Ellsbury. Oh, and Pedroia's not bad either. Ellsbury makes a nice running catch to chase down a Nick Markakis fly ball to deep center; Pedroia makes a great play on the next at-bat, diving to snare an Aubrey Huff grounder. Penny gets by with a little help from his friends in the fourth.

End 3rd, 1-0 O's: Once more the Red Sox get the lead man aboard to start the inning, and once more they leave him stranded. Dustin Pedroia singles to center to lead off the third inning, but the Red Sox' 3-4-5 hitters can do nothing to advance him. A Jason Bay grounder to short for a fielder's choice ends the inning.

Middle 3rd, 1-0 O's: After the leadoff single by Reimold in the second inning, Penny has nicely found his groove, retiring six straight Orioles from that point on. Here Penny gets Izturis, Roberts and Jones for a 1-2-3 inning, helped in no small way by a beautiful diving catch by Ellsbury in shallow center for the final out.

End 2nd, 1-0 O's: The Sox again get the lead man on against Bergesen — this time it's the third baseman Lowell, with a leadoff walk — but the O's stay out of trouble from there. Popout, flyout, groundout, and it's on to the third inning for Baltimore.

Middle 2nd, 1-0 O's: The Orioles score first against Brad Penny — Nolan Reimold leads off the second with a single to right, and he then takes second on a steal, third on a Jason Varitek throwing error, and home on a Melvin Mora sacrifice fly.

Lowell, Varitek and Lowrie — 7, 8, 9 — are due up in the second for Boston.

End 1st, 0-0: The Sox get their first two men aboard against Brad Bergesen and eventually load the bases, but nothing materializes.

Jacoby Ellsbury leads things off with a single and steals second for his 42nd swipe of the season, and Bergesen then walks Dustin Pedroia on four straight. He strikes out back-to-back Sox, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, to bring up Jason Bay, and Bay reaches on a defensive miscue when Melvin Mora fields an easy grounder but hesitates on a throw, failing to get either the lead runner or Bay at first.

But with the bases loaded, J.D. Drew flies to center. The Sox load the bases but get nothing.

A side note: What is Ellsbury doing stealing on 2-0 against a pitcher that can't find the strike zone? Recklessly risking an out to take second base seems a little silly when a Pedroia walk gives you second for free, one pitch later. Ellsbury's a great base stealer, but he could use some work at picking his spots better.

Middle 1st, 0-0: Brad Penny has a solid start to the top of the first, striking out Brian Roberts looking on a 3-2 pitch and then getting Adam Jones to ground out, but Nick Markakis then hits a long fly ball to left field, bouncing one off the wall for what turns out to be just a long single. Aubrey Huff then leaves him stranded, getting ahead 3-1 but then striking out swinging to end the O's threat.

A little rocky, but any goose egg is an encouraging start for a Red Sox hurler who hasn't won a game since June 17.

7:00 p.m.: Adam LaRoche is in the building. The Sox' newly acquired first baseman is on the field at Fenway and has taken BP with the team; Youkilis gets the start to play first base, but don't be surprised to see LaRoche come off the bench later tonight.

6:45 p.m.: Terry Francona has done some shuffling to the bottom third of the Red Sox' order, reinserting Mike Lowell in the No. 7 hole and slotting him in at third base. Kevin Youkilis moves back over to first base; tough luck for the recently waived Mark Kotsay, who started at first last night in Texas. Jed Lowrie is back in the lineup to play short and bat ninth, replacing Nick Green.

After giving four-ninths of his starting lineup the night off on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, Orioles manager Dave Trembley returns his O's to full strength. Left fielder Nolan Reimold, third baseman Melvin Mora, catcher Matt Wieters and shortstop Cesar Izturis are all starting at Fenway tonight.

2:00 p.m.: It's been a terrible second half for the Red Sox so far, but they've found just the thing to get back on track.

Riding home from Texas on a season-worst five-game losing streak, the Sox are now set to open a three-game series against the last-place Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Boston is 31-14 at home and 6-1 against Baltimore this season — that, slumping or not, is a winning combination.

The Sox will send Brad Penny, the losing pitcher who began their skid, to the mound tonight. With a six-run outing in Toronto last Saturday, Penny saw his ERA bounce above 5 for the first time in a month, to 5.02, and he continues to hear trade rumors bandied about in Boston. His next start after this one will be Thursday, July 30 — the day before the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, Brad Bergesen gets the ball for the O's. The 23-year-old rookie is making his 18th career start, but his first in Fenway Park; the youngster has compiled a 3.51 ERA in 110.1 innings this season.

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