After a closely contested first six innings between Sox starter Jon
Lester and Baltimore's David Hernandez, the bullpen imploded for the
host Orioles. The Red Sox rallied for three runs in the seventh inning,
followed by five more in the eighth, putting the game completely out of
reach. A short ninth-inning rally wasn't enough for the Orioles, who lost 11-5.
J.D. Drew, Brian Anderson and rookie Josh Reddick all homered in the victory for the Red Sox; Mike Lowell also had a three-hit night with two RBIs.
While the Red Sox won, the Rangers also emerged victorious over the Angels out West; Boston's lead over Texas in the AL wild-card standings remains seven games.
Final: Red Sox 11, Orioles 5.
The Orioles refuse to go quietly. Ty Wigginton slugs his second home run of the game off of Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen,
and Felix Pie then goes deep as well to make it back-to-back. After
back-to-back walks, Tito pulls MDC — he leaves having faced four
batters and retired none of them.
Ramon Ramirez enters to put out the fire — he gets a flyout to left and a 4-6-3 double play, and that's that. The O's put up a fight in the ninth, but there's no battling back from eight runs down. The Sox win their 15th over the Orioles this season.
Middle 9th, 11-3 Sox: Not that it matters, but Chris Lambert does a nice job in relief as the Orioles' seventh pitcher. Jed Lowrie
and Jacoby Ellsbury each single to lead off the ninth, but Lambert
works out of the jam with ease, retiring the heart of the Sox' order
and keeping the Sox scoreless. If only he could do that in a game that
End 8th, 11-3 Sox: Takashi Saito blazes through the eighth
inning for the Red Sox. First Saito does what Jon Lester couldn't do
all night — retire Matt Wieters. Saito starts off 0-2 against Wieters
and eventually strikes him out looking; he then gets pinch-hitter Robert Andino
to ground out to third and Melvin Mora to ground to short. Inning over,
and the Red Sox are three outs away from their seventh win in eight
Middle 8th, 11-3 Sox: Hard to believe this was a tie game two
innings ago. The Sox load the bases with a single, an error and a walk,
and a sac fly from David Ortiz then plates Dustin Pedroia with the
first run of the inning. That's when the big hits come. J.D. Drew goes
deep to left field for a home run, a three-run blast to make it 10-3
Boston, and Brian Anderson follows with a solo shot, making it back-to-back jacks and an eight-run Sox lead. This one's all but over.
End 7th, 6-3 Sox: Jeff Fiorentino leads off the seventh with a single, and that prompts Tito to delve into the Boston bullpen. He calls on Billy Wagner
to keep the O's at bay in the seventh, and that works like a charm —
first Roberts flies out to right, and then Cesar Izturis grounds into a
6-4-3 double play. Inning over.
Middle 7th, 6-3 Sox: The floodgates open. Pedroia leads off the seventh against reliever Matt Albers with
a single to left, and the Sox bring him around to score — first
Pedroia steals second standing up, then Victor Martinez moves him to
third with a grounder to the right side, and Kevin Youkilis then comes
through with a single to left field, scoring Pedroia. Alberto Castillo
comes in to put out the fire, but that's not happening. Ortiz, Drew and
Lowell rattle off three straight hits, and Trembley goes to his bullpen
again, getting former Sox reliever Cla Meredith. That does the
trick, and the Orioles finally escape the Boston rally. The Red Sox are
in good shape now, and Lester's coming back out to pitch the bottom of
End 6th, 3-3: Lester gets a much-needed quick inning, needing
just nine pitches to retire the Orioles in the sixth. Felix Pie touches
him for a two-out single to center field, but Lester responds by
getting Chad Moeller to swing at the first pitch and pop out to Lowell
at third base. Going to the seventh — still tied.
Middle 6th, 3-3: You could make a case that maybe manager Dave Trembley left
Hernandez in a tad too long. The Sox get to Hernandez in the sixth,
with David Ortiz driving one to the wall in right field for a double
and the Sox bringing him around. J.D. Drew grounds one to the right
side to move Papi over to third base, and Mike Lowell then singles to
left to score him. The Sox are back in the ballgame.
End 5th, 3-2 O's: Lester appears headed for his first 1-2-3
inning of the night, but Matt Wieters spoils that plan by coming
through with his third hit of the night in as many tries. Wieters lines
a 2-2 pitch to left for a single, giving the O's a baserunner with two
outs, but Lester quells the threat by striking out Nick Markakis. It's
the fourth K of the night for the Boston lefty.
Middle 5th, 3-2 O's: With another 1-2-3 inning here in the
fifth, Hernandez has now retired 10 of the last 12 Red Sox he's faced.
Dustin Pedroia swings at the first pitch and flies to right, and
Martinez and Youkilis follow with back-to-back groundouts. Hernandez
has now thrown 74 pitches through five.
End 4th, 3-2 O's: Lester falters again, this time letting Melvin
Mora take him deep as the Orioles reclaim the lead. Mora swings at a
low-inside fastball on 1-0, and he sends it deep to left-center and
just barely over the wall. For the second time tonight, Josh Reddick
makes an admirable effort to climb the wall and make an amazing catch,
but for the second time, it's not happening. Lester has now thrown 73
pitches through four innings.
Middle 4th, 2-2: The Red Sox mount a big threat against
Hernandez in the fourth, putting two runners on with one out, but Brian
Roberts saves the day. With Jacoby Ellsbury up looking at a
chance to break the game open, he lines one hard up the middle but
Roberts makes a superb diving stab, keeping the Sox off the board. The
Orioles will have their 5-6-7 hitters (Melvin Mora, Wigginton and Pie) due up in the bottom of the fourth.
End 3rd, 2-2: Matt Wieters manages his second-straight hit off
of Lester, hitting a hard grounder to the right side for a two-out
single, but the Sox' lefty steers clear of any further trouble. Nick Markakis grounds
one to Lowell at third base, and Lowell makes a nice play to throw him
out and end the threat. We remain tied heading to the fourth.
Middle 3rd, 2-2: Hernandez sets the Red Sox down in order in the
third — Felix Pie has his hands full to start the inning, first
shagging a Victor Martinez fly and then making a nifty basket catch on
a hard liner from Kevin Youkilis, and a pop-up to third from David Ortiz then ends the inning. Top of the order coming up in the Baltimore half of the third.
End 2nd, 2-2: Ty Wigginton strikes back for the Orioles,
swinging at a high fastball on 2-1 and driving it to deep left-center.
It's gone, and it's the ninth home run of the year for Wigginton.
Lester blows the Sox' early lead, but he does battle back to strike out
the Orioles' No. 8 and No. 9 hitters and end the second.
Middle 2nd, 2-1 Sox: Josh Reddick sure loves Camden Yards. A
couple hours ago, he wasn't even in the Sox' lineup — now, he's giving
them the lead with a two-run homer to right field. It's Reddick's
second career home run, and both have come here in Baltimore. He's a
Georgia native playing for Boston, but he seems right at home in
Maryland. The Sox now have a 2-1 lead.
End 1st, 1-0 O's: Lester gets off to a rough start against the Orioles. Brian Roberts leads off the inning with a double (his 53rd of the season, leading the majors by far), and singles from Cesar Izturis and Matt Wieters give the Orioles their first run. The rally could have been worse, but Dustin Pedroia
makes a nice stab on a hard grounder to the right side, sparing Lester
a big first-inning rally. A 6-4-3 double play one at-bat later closes
the book on inning number one.
Middle 1st, 0-0: Victor Martinez makes a little bit of noise
against the Orioles' rookie Hernandez, hacking at the first pitch and
one-hopping one to the wall in right field for a two-out single, but
the Sox fail to capitalize in the first. Youkilis goes down swinging,
and the inning is over.
7:05 p.m.: Scratch that — reverse it. With Jason Bay sitting due to flu-like symptoms, Drew has moved back up in the order, from eighth to sixth. Josh Reddick will be the Red Sox' starter in left field, replacing Bay.
6:40 p.m.: Terry Francona has dropped right fielder J.D. Drew to
the eighth spot in his batting order for tonight's game — Drew went
0-for-3 last night and is now hitless in his last five at-bats. It is
Drew's 18th career start as a No. 8 hitter.
In other news, Mike Lowell is back in the lineup playing third base after a night off in the series opener. Kevin Youkilis moves back to first base and Casey Kotchman returns to the bench.
The Orioles also do some lineup shuffling — Felix Pie moves from the leadoff spot to No. 7 after an 0-for-4 night, and Matt Wieters will enjoy a rare night of DHing and batting third. Chad Moeller gets the start behind the plate in Wieters' usual spot.
9:22 a.m.: This is September, and that being the case, it's time to start talking about magic numbers.
For the Red Sox, the number of the day is 10 — the number of Sox wins and Rangers losses that will guarantee a Boston playoff spot. But here's another magical figure for you: The Red Sox are 14-2 against the Orioles this season, a record that was only bolstered by the Sox' strong series opener in Baltimore on Friday night.
Clay Buchholz was strong on the mound for Boston, allowing just one run in six innings, and the Sox pushed their lead to seven games over the flailing Rangers in the wild-card race. They'll look to pad that lead on Saturday night, as the dominating Jon Lester takes the mound against Orioles rookie David Hernandez.
At this point, the Sox' October prospects are looking good. They've just got to get through September first. That's where tonight comes in.