Red Sox Use Relentless Effort to Come Back to Beat Orioles, Finally Climb Over .500

Red Sox Use Relentless Effort to Come Back to Beat Orioles, Finally Climb Over .500 In a lot of ways, the Red Sox' 8-7 walkoff win on Monday night against the Orioles was a microcosm for the young season.

There was the ugly start, this specific one courtesy of Daisuke Matsuzaka's seven-walk, five-run performance that found the Red Sox in a 5-0 hole after just five innings.

There was the desperate climb to get back to even when the Sox made it 6-5 in the sixth was short-lived for the time being when Mark Reynolds hit a mammoth home run that pushed the Sox further back.

There were plenty of opportunities missed, with the Sox going just 6-for-23 with runners in scoring position on their way to leaving way too many men on base.

It was another constant battle to get things even, all leading up to a dramatic way to finally break through and break out.

Adrian Gonzalez' walk-off double gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night, and more importantly the win, and for the first time all season, Boston is above .500. It's taken longer than anyone would have liked, but they're there.

And while the way they did it — both Monday and throughout the year — hasn't been ideal, it was still pretty resilient.

"We just stayed with it and we didn't give up," Gonzalez said in the moments after further solidifying his case as an early front-runner for MVP. "We continued to play the game. We've been on a roll and we know we can do these kind of things. It's one of those things that you just stay with it and it was a great win."

All night there were examples of those "things."

There was Alfredo Aceves who came in to pitch in the seventh inning and was greeted rudely by Reynolds. Yet, Aceves was able to bear down and give the Red Sox three solid innings. Perhaps even more importantly, he was able to make sure Terry Francona didn't have to totally kill his bullpen in the middle of a stretch of 20 days in which the Sox will play 20 times.

"We certainly are thinking that we don't want to ruin the bullpen," Francona said. "We're trying to monitor how we can get through it. You can't just start matching up in the sixth inning. Aceves gave up the homer, but other than he pitched really well."

Perhaps the biggest sign of the Red Sox' refusal to quit came, unsurprisingly, from second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

The second baseman has been scuffling all year really, and even more so as of late. He had a rough night up to that point, visibly frustrated after lining out to left field in the seventh inning.

Still, it was Pedroia's nine-pitch walk in the ninth inning against Orioles closer Kevin Gregg that set the stage for Gonzalez' heroics. Pedroia fouled off three tough pitches from Gregg, including one hooking ball down the line that looked like for a second that it may tie the game. Each time, Pedroia got back in the box, and continued to fight until he won the battle.

Pedroia worked the walk, and then on the very next pitch he raised home to score the game-winning run on the Gonzalez double.

"I actually felt like we deserved to win that game," Francona said of his team's effort. "We battled back and had some good at-bats, but we weren't rewarded fro them. We kept battling and something good happened. Tough game to win."

The Red Sox won the battle on Monday night. It wasn't easy, and it was far from anything resembling pretty. They'll wake up on Tuesday morning, still three games out of first place and a long way from being where they want to be.

"We can't worry about our record," Kevin Youkilis said. "We put ourselves in a hole early, but you can't worry about your record. … It's a long season and this division's not going to be won in May, and it's not going to be lost in May."

After a tumultuous quarter of the season characterized before an eight-inning struggle and a subsequent breakthrough in the ninth on Monday night, the Red Sox know better than anyone else at this point that you just have to keep fighting.

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