Boston’s recently lethargic offense got a spark from an unexpected source Saturday night, lifting the Red Sox to a 7-3 win over Baltimore in a rain-delayed American League East contest. The win enabled Boston to remain half-a-game back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the division race while Baltimore fell to 5 games off the first-place pace. The game was testy at several points, with Boston questioning balls and strikes, foul versus fair balls and a changed home run call.
Light hitting shortstop Stephen Drew, who entered the contest hitting .223, collected a pair of home runs, three hits in all and a total of five RBI to change Boston’s fortunes against the Orioles. The win helped Boston to improve to 3-6 in series play against Baltimore, upped the Bosox road record to 28-24, and improved Boston’s record against A.L. East opponents to 27-19 on the season. The victory also marked the 43rd time in 52 outings that when the red Sox score first, they go on to win.
Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Stephen Drew singled, moved to second on a fielder’s choice to Jose Iglesias and advanced to third on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury promptly stole his league-leading 38th base and Drew came across on an RBI fielder’s choice to Shane Victorino.
The Red Sox manufactured a little two-out magic in the top of the fourth. With Ortiz and Napoli retired, Mike Carp tagged Feldman for a single, Jarrod Saltalamachia followed with another first-pitch single off Feldman, and both scored when Stephen Drew roped his 6th home run of the season on a rocket over the right field wall to make it Boston 4, Baltimore 0.
The Orioles scratched back for a run in their half of the fifth on a trio of singles by J.J. Hardy, Henry Urrutia and Brian Roberts, credited with an RBI. Boston starter Dempster worked out of a potential big inning for Baltimore by getting Manny Machado to hit into a 4-6-3 double play with two runners aboard to cut short Baltimore’s outburst with Boston leading 4-1 at the end of five.
Baltimore pulled starter and eventual loser Scott Feldman (9-8) to begin the sixth inning in favor of reliever Troy Patton. Jarrod Saltalamachia got aboard on a force out to set up a weird play involving Drew. Drew tagged Patton for what appeared to be his 7th home run off the rail in right field, but the right field umpire ruled to ball in play when it bounced back into the outfield. Saltalamachia wound up scoring from first, Drew wound up in a run down after notching what first was scored as a triple, but scored anyhow when Baltimore could not execute a tag out on the run down play. Upon review, Drew was credited with his second homer of the game to give Boston a 6-1 advantage. Drew’s fifth RBI of the night tied his career high. Role player Mike Carp also had a productive night at the plate. Getting an infrequent start in left field, Carp went ¾ on the night to raise his batting average to .318.
Dempster got into trouble in the Orioles’ sixth inning when Nick Markakis and Chris Davis singled. Manager John Farrell quickly went to the Boston bullpen, calling on southpaw Craig Breslow. The Orioles nicked Dempster for a second run on a fielder’s choice to Matt Wieters before Breslow got J.J. Hardy to pop out to end the threat with Boston in front 6-2.
Breslow turned in a quality relief effort for Boston, tossing one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, marking the 27th scoreless trips to the mound in 35 appearances this year for the Bosox.
The Red Sox got the run back quickly when Shane Victorino greeted Baltimore reliever Jairo Asencio by drilling a pitch over the right field wall to make it 7-2 Boston. During Boston’s seventh, DH David Ortiz was ahead on a 3-0 count and began walking down to first on what appeared to be a pitch at his eye level for ball four. The umpire called it a strike, Ortiz fumed, and wound up striking out. Ortiz had words with the home plate ump, wound up getting tossed and then pounded a bat into shreds in the Boston dugout.
Junichi Tazawa was a little shaky in the eighty for Boston, surrendering a single to Adam Jones. A walk to Chris Davis and an infield dribbler to J.J. Hardy slow enough to allow Jones to score from third to make it 7-3 Boston.
Koji Uehara gave up a double to Baltimore’s Nate McLouth in the bottom of the ninth, but held the Orioles scoreless in the final frame in a non-save sitation.
The Red Sox and Orioles wrap up the three-game set at Camden Yards Sunday at 6:10 p.m. Jason Hammel at 7-7, ERA 5.20 will face Boston lefty Jon Lester, 9-6, ERA 4.50. Boston will then return home to Fenway way a 6:10 p.m. Monday afternoon make-up game against Tampa. David Price (5-5, 3.75) will square off against Felix Doubront (7-4, ERA 3.78) in a rescheduled rain out from last Thursday. Boston then entertains West Coast play at Fenway with a three game set against Seattle followed by a three game set against Arizona.
- 3′s Company atop crowded A.L. East with Bird’s 6-0 win over Boston (baseballtrashtalkin.org)
- Orioles, Tillman defeat Red Sox 6-0 (boston.com)