Martinez delivered a three-run, pinch-hit double with one out in the seventh to snap a 4-4 tie and give the Sox an eventual 7-5 win over the Orioles on Wednesday.
Boston received a strong outing by 38-year-old veteran Paul Byrd, who picked up a no-decision in his third start of the season despite limiting the O's to two runs in five innings.
Red Sox 7, Orioles 5
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.
September 9, 2009
Headliner: With one out and things tied up at four in the seventh, pinch hitter Victor Martinez smoked a bases-loaded double to left-center to give the Red Sox a 7-4 lead. The three RBIs gave him 95 on the season while the double was his 30th of the year.
In addition to his three hits, Jason Bay got the Sox on the board in the first with a two-run single, giving him 100 RBIs on the season. The left fielder now has four seasons (2005-06, 2008-09) with at least 100 RBIs. Last year he drove in 101 combined runs with the Pirates (64) and Red Sox (37).
Dirt dog: Paul Byrd bounced back nicely from his unfavorable last outing as he held the Orioles to two runs over five innings. The righty allowed just six hits but was a little wild as he issued three free passes to just one strikeout. He threw 55 of his 83 pitches for strikes.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis led the Sox with two runs scored and was able to reach base four times thanks to two walks and two singles.
Better luck next time: Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen entered in the sixth up 3-2 and charged with holding onto Byrd’s lead. But the righty simply didn’t have it. Delcarmen gave up two runs on two hits, one walk and his fielding error before getting replaced by Ramon Ramirez with one out.
The bullpen picked things up after Delcarmen's departure as Ramirez, Billy Wagner and Daniel Bard combined for six strikeouts in 2 1/3 shutout innings.
Key moment: Boston's small-ball sixth. After Jason Varitek led off the sixth inning with his second hit of the night — a single — Joey Gathright took over as a pinch runner for the captain and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Alex Gonzalez. After a Jacoby Ellsbury groundout moved Gathright to third, Dustin Pedroia smoked an infield single off pitcher Matt Albers to plate Gathright with the tying run. Boston would go on to plate three in the next inning to take the lead and capture the two-game sweep.
On deck: After a much-needed day off Thursday, the Red Sox will host the struggling Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. Just last week in Tampa, the Sox took two of three games from the Rays at the Trop. Jon Lester will toe the rubber for Boston while the Rays turn to righty James Shields.
Lester has won his last four decisions including his last three straight starts. The southpaw hasn’t been touched up for more than three earned runs in his last seven starts, including two against the Rays where he allowed them to score just three runs in 12 combined innings. In his last outing, Lester threw seven shutout innings against Chicago and held the White Sox to just four hits en route to his 12th win of the season. Lester is 5-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 career starts against the Rays.
Shields has won his last two decisions, but his record sits at just 9-10 with a 4.02 ERA this season. After going winless in six July starts, Shields went 3-3 in August. In three starts against Boston this season, the righty is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA with both losses coming at Fenway Park.