Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Hang On For 7-6 Win Over Orioles

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Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Hang On For 7-6 Win Over Orioles Postgame, Red Sox 7-6: That's four wins in five games for the Red Sox, but each has come by just one run, making it seem as if the club is just scraping by.

Sometimes that's all you need to do against the Orioles, who fall to 2-16 this season and are now winless in 10 straight against Boston.

The Sox will go for their first series sweep of the year Sunday with Tim Wakefield on the mound. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.

Final, Red Sox 7-6: Things got extremely dicey in the ninth before Jonathan Papelbon finally gets the last out.

The Orioles had a home run, double and three singles in succession to get to within a run. Papelbon then struck out Ty Wigginton – who had reached in 8-of-9 plate appearances in the series – and Rhyne Hughes to end it.

It goes in the books as a win, but not a pretty one, for the Sox, who have taken four of their last five since the five-game losing streak.

We'll go hear what they have to say downstairs and get right back to you.

Top 9th, Red Sox 7-4: So much for that Ramon Ramirez save. A home run and a double chases him in the ninth and Jonathan Papelbon is in.

End 8th, Red Sox 7-3: For all of you with Ramon Ramirez on your fantasy team (there must be a few out there, right?), you are set up for a save opportunity here. Ramirez entered with two on and the tying run in the on-deck circle in the eighth, so the chance is his.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish a happy 69th birthday to my father, Kenneth Lee, the best baseball player in the history of Pascack Valley High.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-3: The Orioles are three outs from falling to 2-16 after they strand runners at second and third in the eighth. And if you really want to feel sorry for them, take a look at the schedule.

After finishing up at Fenway Park tomorrow, Baltimore hosts the New York Yankees for three, then the Sox for three more. Then, without an off-day, they visit the Yankees for three and then the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins for four.

This could be a five- or six-win team in mid-May.

Top 8th, Red Sox 7-3: Two on and two out in the top of the eighth and Terry Francona has gone to get the ball from Scott Schoeneweis. In comes Ramon Ramirez in a pretty big situation.

End 7th, Red Sox 7-3: Just get into the Baltimore bullpen and good things can happen. An atrocious set of arms has allowed several teams to erase late deficits. The Sox are just the most recent.

Marco Scutaro and Kevin Youkilis both hit three-run homers in the seventh, which featured four hits, two walks and a stolen base for Boston.

Scott Schoeneweis is the first out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Bottom 7th, Red Sox 4-3: In the past those moments were reserved for David Ortiz. But seconds after Big Papi sees a third strike fly right by him with two men on, Marco Scutaro deposits the next pitch over the Green Monster for a go-ahead three-run blast. There's your crooked number, folks (see Mid 7th post for that stat). With just one out, we have our second pitching change of the inning.

Bottom 7th, Orioles 3-1: The Sox have runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh as Brian Matusz is sent to the showers. Matt Albers is on in relief.

Mid 7th, Orioles 3-1: If the Sox are unable to rally in this one, you can't pin it on John Lackey. He should be done after throwing 111 pitches in seven solid frames.

The Orioles did manage 10 hits and got four of them in a row in the second to put the only crooked number on the board.

Speaking of crooked numbers, defined as innings in which a team scores more than one run, the Sox have not put one up for a total of 33 innings. Eight times in that span they have had an inning in which they've scored exactly one run.

End 6th, Orioles 3-1: Five runs in the last 24 innings for the Sox after they waste a leadoff single by Victor Martinez in the sixth.

Mid 6th, Orioles 3-1: Can anyone get out Ty Wigginton? Not on the Red Sox, it would seem.

Wigginton slugged a solo homer in top of the sixth and is now 4-for-5 with three walks in the series.

End 5th, Orioles 2-1: That's four home runs in 21 at-bats now for Jason Varitek.

Terry Francona said earlier in this homestand that the hope was that Varitek would be a bit more productive in a bench role as he would not necessarily wear down. But did anyone expect this?

If the Sox could just get a few guys on from time to time the blasts would mean that much more. Each of 'Tek's homers have been solo shots.

Mid 5th, Orioles 2-0: The Orioles get two on in the fifth before John Lackey gets Matt Wieters on a pop to shortstop. Eight hits and a pair of walks against Lackey. He's doing a good job of wiggling out of trouble. Two double plays have helped.

The Orioles have stranded 16 runners in the series thus far.

End 4th, Orioles 2-0: Since Kevin Youkilis' walk-off hit Wednesday night, the Red Sox have managed four runs in 22 innings. The runs have come on a solo homer, a double-play grounder, a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk.

Not exactly knocking the cover off the ball.

Mid 4th, Orioles 2-0: You never know what you will see at the old ballpark. In the fourth, it was a rare ground-rule single.

Yes, Ty Wigginton looped one down the right-field line that bounced up and was touched by a misguided fan. With J.D. Drew standing right over the ball and Wiggy just barely reaching first the umpires ruled he could not pass first. Correct call, just odd. No argument from Baltimore manager Dave Trembley.

There was another hit in the inning, but John Lackey escapes the jam with the Red Sox' second double play of the game.

End 3rd, Orioles 2-0: The Sox get their first walk against Brian Matusz but nothing else in the third. The lefty is in cruise control.

At some point we will take a closer look at it, but the Boston offense has done so little since those back-to-back walk-off wins earlier in the week.

Mid 3rd, Orioles 2-0: Thank you Dustin Pedroia. John Lackey should, at least.

After Adam Jones got on with a beautiful bunt single to lead off the third (testing Mike Lowell a bit, it seemed), Nick Markakis hits a hard shot up the middle that Pedroia smothered near the second base bag and rose to get the out at first.

The Sox second baseman then tracked down a little looper in shallow right and scooped up another grounder for the third out.

End 2nd, Orioles 2-0: Kevin Youkilis gets the first hit off Brian Matusz, and just as a colleague predicts a double play, Mike Lowell grounds into one to erase the runner.

Mid 2nd, Orioles 2-0: Holy mackerel. When the Red Sox defense is bad, it is really bad. I mean, Bad News Bears before they turned it around bad. Jeremy Hermida's latest adventure in left field brings Bizet's "Carmen" into our heads once again.

After a leadoff single that whizzed past a slow-moving Mike Lowell, Hermida prepared to play a ball off the wall in left and got completely turned around. He actually twisted himself and fell to the turf as the ball bounced past him and allowed the run to score.

It's the second error of the season for Hermida.

Two more singles follow, including the first in the major league career of Ryhne Hughes.

End 1st, 0-0: Brian Matusz is perfect in the first and you have to like what you see in him. But even in a 1-2-3 inning we are still treated to a classic case of Orioles baseball, much to the delight of the fans at Fenway.

With one out, Dustin Pedroia fouled a pitch virtually straight up. Catcher Matt Wieters never budged, apparently thinking it was fouled into the seats and clearly not alerted by his teammates. The ball landed just on the edge of the dirt behind home plate.

Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey walks one and is forced to throw 20 pitches, but gets through the first inning unharmed.

It has been a frustrating season all around for the Orioles, but Friday night had to really sting. Just look at how the Red Sox scored.

David Ortiz had his first home run of the season. Then a run came in on a double-play grounder. A third scored on a lazy fly to left. And the go-ahead run was forced in with a bases-loaded walk.

In addition, Baltimore should've had bases loaded an no outs in the eighth when trailing 3-2. Instead, a blown call gave the O's runners on the corners with one out. They managed to get the tying run in on a grounder but could've had more in the inning if not for the mistake by crew chief Jeff Kellogg.

6:55 p.m.: As we get ready for the first pitch, here are a few statistics to tie you all over. All will touch on the Red Sox' control of the series.

  • With a win, Boston would have its fourth 10-game winning streak against Baltimore.
  • The Sox have tallied at least six hits in 41 straight games against the O's. It puts them one game away from tying the Yankees' 42-game stretch in the mid-80s, the longest such span ever against Baltimore.
  • John Lackey is 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA in his last nine starts against Baltimore.
  • Jonathan Papelbon owns a 0.59 ERA in 32 career games in the series. That ranks him first all-time among pitchers with at least 30 innings against the Orioles.

6:07 p.m.: The Sox' latest lineup offers up a few questions, several of which were posed to Terry Francona.

He has inserted Mike Lowell at third base for the third time this year as he wanted to get Adrian Beltre a rest and also wanted Victor Martinez to DH.

Orioles starter Brian Matusz has held lefties to a .214 mark this year, so David Ortiz was benched, despite hitting his first home run of the year Friday night.

"I thought this was our best lineup [against Matusz]," Francona said when asked about keeping Ortiz out of the lineup. "We have a roster and we're trying to put the best team out there we can. I would like guys to get hot. At the same time we got a pretty good lefty going today. He's been beating up left handers."

With the injuries in the outfield J.D. Drew has played 15 of the team's 17 games and was also given a night off against a lefty.

"I thought he needed it," Francona said of Drew, who is hitting .158.

Moving Drew out of the lineup allowed the skipper to push Dustin Pedroia up a slot to his usual No. 2 position. Pedroia had been scuffling in the three-hole and Francona saw him pressing.

"I think [Pedroia] was trying too hard," Francona said. "Some of it was because of the way we're playing. He's done this before. We hit him leadoff, I think he did the same thing.

Sure enough, Pedroia is a .319 hitter while batting second. He has hit a combined .246 while batting leadoff or third.

The only player to stay in the same spot all season is Kevin Youkilis, who has hit cleanup in each of the team's 17 games.

4:49 p.m.: We have spoken with both Jonathan Van Every and Terry Francona about the move which brought the 30-year-old outfielder back to Boston. Should have a story up in a few moments. For now, here is the Orioles lineup against John Lackey:

Lou Montanez LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Matt Wieters C
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Cesar Izturis SS

For those of you who saw my lineup error earlier, my apologies. For those of you who did not, it never happened. I'm still batting 1.000.

3:26 p.m.: These are the days you dream about during the winter: Sunny skies, low humidity, light breeze and the Orioles in town. Here is the Red Sox starting lineup on a sparkling day at Fenway Park:

Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez DH
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Mike Lowell 3B
Jason Varitek C
Bill Hall RF
Jeremy Hermida LF
Darnell McDonald CF

A few things of note here. I don't have the numbers right in front of me but this has to be about the 12th or 13th different lineup the Sox have used. I hinted at that on the pregame show yesterday. With Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury out, several guys still struggling to get going and multiple "platooned" positions, we might see a makeshift lineup for the next few weeks or so. There is almost nothing definite right now, aside from Kevin Youkilis in the cleanup spot.

Dustin Pedroia, who is 2-for-22 (.091) in the third spot, is back up to the two-hole, where he has hit .354 (17-for-48).

Terry Francona hasn't said this and won't be anytime soon, but I think we are legitimately in a platoon at DH. David Ortiz did not stick around to meet with reporters after Friday night's game, and the fact that he is out for this one may be why. He found out ahead of time and was not pleased.

Papi may want to get used to it. Mike Lowell has started against three lefties this week alone and gets the call against Orioles southpaw Brian Matusz. Lowell is at third and Victor Martinez is the DH, but that is only to get Martinez a chance to not catch and still hit. If Victor was catching we would likely see Lowell at the DH.

By the way, news just passed across has Josh Reddick being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket and fellow outfielder Jonathan Van Every being acquired from Pittsburgh. Van Every, you might recall, played in 18 games for the Red Sox between 2008 and 2009 before heading to the Pirates.

We will have more on this in a bit.

10:36 a.m.: The Red Sox' ownership of the Baltimore Orioles is almost laughable, although you might not see many smiles in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park after the way Friday night went.

In dropping their ninth straight to Boston and falling to 17-56 in the series since 2006, the Orioles stranded 12 runners, were victimized by a missed call during an eighth-inning rally and lost on a bases-loaded walk to Adrian Beltre, who needs quite a bit of coaxing to take a free pass.

Facing John Lackey on Saturday might not help. The Red Sox righty is 8-3 in his career against the O's.

He will be opposed by Brian Matusz, at 2-0 the only pitcher on the Baltimore staff with a win to his credit.

First pitch is 7:10 p.m. Keep it right here for all the in-game analysis as the Sox look to clinch a second straight series win.

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