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The Red Sox have fallen to the Orioles 9-6 in seventeen torturous innings, leaving them swept in Fenway, out of pitchers, and at what may be the low point of the year, if not the decade.
Clay Buchholz was his usual self Sunday, which is to say terrible, allowing a pair of solo shots to J.J. Hardy in the first and third inning to put the Sox behind 2-0 early, and then falling apart completely in the fourth, allowing three more runs on a Robert Andino homer even with the help of some bad baserunning by Matt Wieters costing Baltimore a baserunner earlier.
The Sox would score once in the fourth, and then come all the way back in the bottom of the fifth when Will Middlebrooks stayed back on a hanging curveball and hit an absolute moonshot over the Monster for his first career homer and grand slam.
The teams would trade runs in the eighth, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia first costing the Sox a run with a dropped popup in foul territory and an errant throw to second, and then getting them one on a sacrifice fly to bring Darnell McDonald--pinch-running for David Ortiz--home to score.
The teams would go into extra innings, with each bullpen pitching shutdown inning after shutdown inning. This lasted until the position players came into the game. In the 16th, the Sox nearly walked off on Chris Davis, but had Marlon Byrd thrown out as he tried to score from first on a Mike Aviles double. This would be made all the more tragic when Ryan Sweeney led off the seventeenth with a hit.
By then, however, the game had gotten away from the Sox, as Darnell McDonald took the mound and allowed a pair of runners to reach before surrendering a three-run shot to Adam Jones. With the Sox unable to recover in the bottom half, they fell to 11-16.
Adrian Gonzalez Pressing: An unbelievably bad performance from Adrian Gonzalez today saw the first baseman go 0-for-7, striking out twice (including against Chris Davis in his second inning of work) and leaving eight men on base. The Sox need him to start producing and fast--they didn't get him to go 0-for-7.
Clay Buchholz Out?: After seeing his 8.69 ERA actually spike back up over nine today, Clay Buchholz could well be on the way to the disabled list for a phantom stint to get his head (and presumably something else) straight. With nobody left in the bullpen, now seems like the right time for a move.
Rock Bottom: We had it at 1-5, after the Yankees comeback, and now at 11-16--a worse record than the 2011 team had through this point in the season. The first time that's been true in 2012.
The Sox are out to salvage what dignity they can from this series by avoiding a sweep. To do that, however, they'll have to survive another Clay Buchholz start. Entering today with an 8.69 ERA, he has been uniquely awful in the first month of the season.
We'll keep you up-to-date as all the action goes down in Fenway Park.
Orioles 9, Red Sox 6, Final -- Adrian Gonzalez strikes out with two men on, Darnell McDonald grounds into a double play. This team has somehow found a new rock bottom.
Orioles 9, Red Sox 6, Mid 17th -- Amazingly, Darnell McDonald is not a very good pitcher, and Adam Jones takes him deep for three runs. Is this a crushing blow, or is it mercy? I really don't know.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 16th -- It takes a strong throw from center to the plate, but Chris Davis actually has a scoreless inning to his name. A Marlon Byrd ground ball ate up Mark Reynolds at third, putting the winning run on first for Mike Aviles' gapper, but the throw was strong and Byrd was out by a mile.
Oh, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out on three pitches against a first baseman. Can a career sink any lower?
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 16th -- A pair of excellent plays from Dustin Pedroia helps the Sox head into the bottom of the sixteenth, where they'll face Chris Davis. This has to end here, right?
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 15th -- Adrian Gonzalez goes down on another first pitch, Cody Ross strikes out for the fifth time...we're 330 minutes in and there's no sign of the end. Except for Chris Davis warming up in the bullpen.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 15th -- Yet another double play from the Orioles wastes yet another leadoff baserunner for Baltimore, and Chris Davis grounds out to strand Matt Wieters at second after a double.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 14th -- Ryan Sweeney manages a two-out single, but Dustin Pedroia has his knees buckled by a looping Jim Johnson breaking ball that drops in for strike three.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 14th -- The Orioles are gifted a one-out baserunner as Will Middlebrooks' throw to first goes wide of the bag, but J.J. Hardy quickly makes up for it by grounding into a double play to end the inning.
Can this game go any longer? It's been more than five hours since first pitch now.
Orioles 6 Red Sox 6, End 13th -- This time it's the Sox with the leadoff baserunner in Darnell McDonald, but Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Will Midlebrooks go down in order, leaving him stranded at first.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 13th -- Matt Wieters gives the Orioles yet another leadoff single, prompting Rich Hill's entrance into the game with Chris Davis already holing a 1-0 count. Davis manages to avoid a sixth strikeout, but instead grounds into a double play to make his night that much worse and put Rich Hill just one out--an Endy Chavez pop-out--from ending the inning.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 12th -- Adrian Gonzalez is now officially pressing but hard. After Dustin Pedroia draws a two-out walk, Gonzalez goes chasing a high pitch and pops out to move the game along to the thirteenth inning.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 12th -- Franklin Morales gets a nice double play to erase a leadoff single and send the game to the twelfth still tied.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 11th -- Will Middlebrooks gives the Sox a two-out baserunner, though he's caught watching his ball assuming it was going foul and is held to a single when he could have had a double. Marlon Byrd makes it a moot point, however, striking out to end the inning.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 11th -- Alfredo Aceves gives up a leadoff single, but Franklin Morales comes in to clean up the mess, getting a pair of pop-ups (fielding the first one on a bunt attempt himself) and a ground ball, which Will Middlebrooks fields smoothly on the grass to get Ronny Paulino at first and end the inning.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 10th -- A tame performance from the heart of the Red Sox order...if you still count it as that with Darnell McDonald in for David Ortiz after pinch-running in the eighth.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 10th -- Nick Markakis draws a leadoff walk, but Alfredo Aceves manages to work around the baserunner with a couple of fly balls and a strike out of Chris Davis--Davis' fifth of the night.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 9th -- More extra baseball for the Red Sox, as a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out of Ryan Sweeney and Mike Aviles respectively ends the ninth with the teams still tied.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, Mid 9th -- Alfredo Aceves is throwing some serious gas these days, getting Robert Andino swinging at a changeup and then blowing away Ryan Flaherty on a 97 MPH fastball as part of a 1-2-3 ninth.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 6, End 8th -- The Sox come right back to tie it in the eighth inning. Leading off, David Ortiz nearly leaves the park, but instead ends up with a wall scraper much like Reynold's. Darnell McDonald replaces Ortiz at second, pulls into third on a Cody Ross ground ball, and then scores on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's sacrifice fly.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 5, Mid 8th -- This is a very Red Sox way to lose a game, if indeed the score stays the same. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drops an Adam Jones pop-up in foul ground, leading to a ground ball chopped over the head of Vicente Padilla, who just barely deflects it for an infield single. A Matt Wieters fly out leaves Jones at first, but he quickly makes his way to third when Saltalamacchia makes a terrible throw down to second on a stolen base attempt.
Padilla managed to get Chris Davis with a strikeout to leave Jones 90 feet away with just one out to go, but Mark Reynolds manages to take him to the wall in center for an RBI double.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 5, End 7th -- Adrian Gonzalez can't come through with runners in scoring position, grounding out to shortstop as his woes at the plate continue.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 5, Mid 7th -- Matt Albers completes his second scoreless inning, retiring the Orioles 1-2-3 with a strikeout of Nick Markakis to end the frame.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 5, End 6th -- Will Middlebrooks can't cash in on the 2-out baserunner Jarrod Saltalamacchia provides. Trade him for a reliever!
(Please don't actually do that.)
Orioles 5, Red Sox 5, Mid 6th -- Matt Albers strikes out Nick Johnson induces a double play to work around a leadoff walk.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 5, End 5th -- And suddenly the game is tied! David Ortiz and Cody Ross lead off the inning with singles, and a walk from Jarrod Saltalamacchia loads the bases with zero outs as Tommy Hunter starts falling apart. He completes the collapse with a hanging breaking ball to Will Middlebrooks, who stays back and then takes it very high over the Monster and into the parking lot for the game-tying grand slam. You want hope? There is your hope.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- Andrew Miller strikes out the side in the fifth, putting some hope in the hearts of Sox fans that will inevitably lead only to disappointment. Such is the way of Andrew Miller and restoration projects like him.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Mike Aviles plants a ball off the Monster and Ryan Sweeney drives him in to give the Sox their first run, but Dustin Pedroia pops out and Adrian Gonzalez grounds into a double play to end the inning.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Thus ends another terrible day for Clay Buchholz at the ballpark. A pair of early walks put two men on with one out to start the inning. A long fly ball off the wall in center for Nick Johnson should have added to Baltimore's tally, but Matt Wieters held up too long to see if Marlon Byrd would make the grab, and then had to hold up at third, sending the other two baserunners back and leaving Johnson stranded between first and second for the second out.
Still, that ended up just being a warning shot, as the next pitch was a fastball in Robert Andino's wheelhouse (if such a place exists...) that ended up knocked off a sign above the monster. Clay would allow two more baserunners to reach before being pulled for Andrew Miller, who finally recorded the last out.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia is robbed of a hit by the shift, and Marlon Byrd manages a ten-pitch at bat, but Tommy Hunter has still had to face the minimum through three innings of work.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- J.J. Hardy does it again, homering off a hanging curveball to put the Orioles up 2-0 before a double play manages to get Clay Buchholz out of the inning without any more damage.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- More futility from the Boston lineup, though they do manage to at least take a few pitches along the way. Adrian Gonzalez strikes out swinging for what seems like the hundredth time this season, David Ortiz hits the ball hard but right at Nick Johnson, and Cody Ross goes down by way of the K as well.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- And after a terrible first, Clay Buchholz strikes out the side around a walk to Mark Reynolds (throwing four straight balls low-and-away despite getting neither a swing nor a call on any of them). Quite the turnaround from the first, but he was like this in his last outing, too: one good inning, one terrible one, and so on until he exploded late.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The Red Sox go down in a hurry, despite an infield single from Dustin Pedroia. Mike Aviles and Ryan Sweeney take all of five pitches combined to record two outs, and Pedroia is gunned down at second to end the inning.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- More of the same for Clay Buchholz, who can't be far from a phantom DL stint. The first four batters of the game all get big contact off of the Sox' starting pitcher, with J.J. Hardy taking him deep and Adam Jones doubling. Matt Wieters finally gives the Sox an easy out with a pop-up, but it's not looking like today's the day Buck turns things around.
The first fews days on the job as the Boston Red Sox new starting pitcher didn't go as planned for sinker-baller Aaron Cook. On Saturday, the righty lasted less than three innings and suffered a huge gash to his right knee in his team's fourth straight loss. On Sunday, that laceration has placed him on the disable list and his future with the club in doubt.
The transaction, however, has allowed left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller to make his move back to the big leagues. Miller, who had his 30-day rehab stint end Sunday, put together a dominate performance on Tuesday in Pawtucket, the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.
Miller tossed just two innings, however, he struck out five while walking two. In 10 innings of work, Miller has struck out 22 batters and seems to be ready to contribute to the big league club.
The Red Sox will hope to avoid being swept in Fenway Park by the Baltimore Orioles Sunday as they send Clay Buchholz to the mound in search of his first quality start.
The day off seems to have cured Will Middlebrooks of his tight hamstring, as the young third baseman returns to the lineup Sunday. The lineup will return to a more standard formation, with Mike Aviles leading off and Ryan Sweeney batting second.
Boston Red Sox (11-15)
The Red Sox are losers for the fourth straight game after a second-inning injury to Aaron Cook derailed the sinkerballer's debut start in a seven-run third.
While Cook started off exactly how you might expect from a pitcher like him, recording three straight ground ball outs to start the game, things went terribly awry in the second. Covering the plate with two outs as a runner scored from third on a passed ball, Cook suffered a deep gash to his knee as Chris Davis' spikes tore into him.
From there, Cook had nothing. Leaving the ball up in the zone, he was pounded for six runs in the third inning, including a big homer from Adam Jones. Finally pulled with five runs on the board and two out, Cook was replaced by Clayton Mortensen, who quickly surrendered another home run to Mark Reynolds to make it 8-0.
The Sox were able to hold the score there thanks to Mortensen bouncing back in style with three scoreless innings and Scott Atchison holding down the fort for the seventh, eighth, and ninth. Unfortunately, the Sox were not able to get anything going at the plate, with Jason Hammel facing the minimum from the second through the sixth innings. Hits from Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney, and Cody Ross would finally produce a pair of runs in the seventh, but after that the bats went back in their holes, leaving the Orioles clear winners at the end of the day.
No Judgement For Cook: Seven runs, six earned on eight hits, a walk, and zero strikeouts in just 2.2 innings is not an outing to be proud of, but Cook has a pretty legitimate excuse. The image of his mangled knee on NESN is not for those with week stomachs, and frankly it is to his credit that he even tried to stay in the game. If he can get that knee healed up, there's no reason assume he can't come back to contribute as expected.
Punto Fails To Contribute: It's easy to understand how a late scratch of your starting third baseman can mix up a manager's plans. But there's no excuse for Bobby Valentine's solution to losing Will Middlebrooks for the day. By putting Nick Punto at the leadoff spot, he gave his worst hitter the chance to receive the most at bats. It's an inexcusably bad idea. How much longer is ownership going to put up with this?
No, Seriously, Punto: The guy is hitting .160/.313/.200. He's a career nothing with the bat! What happened to the original plan to bat Ryan Sweeney first? Why did you scrap the good idea for the worst idea, Bobby?
Stay tuned for Sunday's game, when Clay Buchholz will bat leadoff and Punto will DH for first baseman David Ortiz.
|Final - 5.5.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||2||8||0|
|WP: Jason Hammel (4 - 1)
LP: Aaron Cook (0 - 1)
Aaron Cook is set to make his Red Sox debut in Fenway Park as Boston takes on the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of their three-game series.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 2, Final -- And the Red Sox fall to 11-15.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 2, Mid 9th -- Scott Atchison makes it three scoreless innings. My question: why is it that the Sox bullpen can record scoreless innings when the game is in no way on the line, but not otherwise?
Orioles 8, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- The Red Sox threaten with a Dustin Pedroia double and Adrian Gonzalez single, but can't bring any home to score, leaving this a 6-run gave headed to the ninth.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Scott Atchison walks Wilson Betemit with two down in the eighth, but battles back to strike out Mark Reynolds and keep the Orioles at their eight.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Runs! Two of them! Adrian Gonzalez singles with one out in the inning and then scores on a double from Ryan Sweeney, who makes his way home when Cody Ross drops a blood single to right. This game still seems out of hand, but at least it's no shutout.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Scott Atchison makes a good show of things in the seventh, taking over for Clayton Mortensen with a 1-2-3 inning. But for the unfortunate injury to Aaron Cook and his subsequent collapse, this may be a very different game.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- Oh, hey, another 1-2-3 inning with Nick Punto striking out. Somehow this is not the most surprising thing to ever happen.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Not nearly so impressive an inning for Mortensen, who allows a double and records no strikeouts, but when it's his third scoreless frame since allowing the homer, that kind of outweighs the other considerations.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- The Red Sox aren't hitting, but credit the Orioles' defense, they're a big part of that too. The Sox seem to have way more than their fair share of line drive outs in this series, with Robert Andino's sharp reflexes leaving Ryan Sweeney the latest victim.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Another inning, another two strikeouts for Clayton Mortensen. Who saw this coming? Apparently Ben Cherington. That Scutaro trade is starting to look might good.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- David Ortiz finally gives the Sox another baserunner with a leadoff walk. Then Adrian Gonzalez looks awful striking out and Mike Aviles grounds into a double play. No signs of life here.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Clayton Mortensen recovers nicely with a 1-2-3 fourth, striking out two batters in the process which, you might remember, is the sort of thing he has done in his limited time with the Sox.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- More futility from the Boston lineup. 1-2-3 go Byrd, Punto, and Pedroia. It's 2:15 and this game is already over.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Aaron Cook's first start for the Sox has gone horribly awry, and it's hard to imagine it's not got something to do with the canyon that was dug into his knee by the spike of Chris Davis. A wise if perhaps a bit unsportsmanlike bunt from Endy Chavez gave the Orioles a one-out baserunner, and a walk to J.J. Hardy made it two. No longer able to place the ball in the bottom of the zone as he had at the start of the game, Cook would let a run come in on a line drive single, and then saw three more score on an Adam Jones homer. Three more hits would come before he was mercifully removed from the game for Clayton Mortensen...who proceeded to offer up another homer to Mark Reynolds, leaving the score at an untouchable 8-0.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- The Sox lineup can't match the intensity of their starter, going down 1-2-3 in a quiet second inning.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- The Orioles have their first run of the game, but Aaron Cook is absolutely the hero of the inning. After getting the first two Baltimore batters out, Cook surrendered a pair of singles through the air, putting runners on the corners. That's when things got disgusting. A passed ball from Jarrod Saltalamacchia saw the runner come home from third, and Aaron Cook meet him at the plate, with the ball arriving just too late to keep the run out.
(Graphic description to follow, for those weak of stomach)
Unfortunately for Cook, Davis had gotten all of his knee with his spikes. With the trainer visiting home plate, we were treated to a terrible peek at the inner workings of Cook's knee, with a flap of skin having been pulled down by Davis' cleats.
Amazingly enough, after a quick trip to the clubhouse, Cook returned to the mound to record the final out, and seems set to stay in the game, blood-stained pants and all.
Orioles 0, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- Dustin Pedroia provides the first hit of the game--a dribbler down the third base line that Mark Reynolds simply gives up on, allowing the second baseman to reach after Nick Punto struck out to start the inning. David Ortiz would also go down by way of the K, but Adrian Gonzalez moved Pedroia to third with a double, giving Mike Aviles a shot for the RBI. The shortstop would give it a run, hitting a ground ball up the middle, but Robert Andino (who else) made the ranging play for the out.
Orioles 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- So far, Aaron Cook is exactly as advertised--almost ridiculously so. Throwing exclusively his sinker, Cook induced three straight ground balls from the top of the Orioles' lineup, requiring just nine pitches to retire the side. It's a very encouraging start for the Sox on a day when they could really use some innings to help aid their bullpen after the thirteen-inning marathon on Friday.
The Red Sox will once again shakeup their lineup as Bobby Valentine goes in search of some elusive runs to support Aaron Cook in his Red Sox debut.
The biggest change involves the leadoff spot, where Mike Aviles has fallen off to a .308 OBP after a strong start. Ryan Sweeney will take over that role now, dropping Aviles to the fifth spot behind Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz. Dustin Pedroia will move back to his customary second spot in the order, with the bottom half filled out by the typical mix of outfielders, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Will Middlebrooks.
UPDATE: Will Middlebrooks has been scratched with left hamstring tightness, which for some reason means Nick Punto will now be leading off.
Boston Red Sox (11-14)
Baltimore Orioles (17-9)
It took 13 innings, but the Sox dropped their third straight game Friday night, falling 6-4 to the Orioles.
The Red Sox would strike first, scoring a run off of Wei-Yin Chen in the second when Cody Ross led off the inning with a triple. They made a bit of a show of it, however. After Darnell McDonald walked, Marlon Byrd flew out to Nick Markakis, prompting Ross to bluff but not head home. A strikeout from Kelly Shoppach left the Sox looking like they'd need a hit to get the job done, but in the end it was a passed ball by Ronny Paulino that let the run come in to score.
Jon Lester started the game strong, but quickly showed signs of weakness in the second inning as he left a fastball over the plate to Mark Reynolds for a solo shot that tied the game.
The Sox would jump back on top in the third, turning a pair of leadoff baserunners in Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia into runs on a pair of productive outs. Just as quick, however, Lester would give the runs right back in the top of the fourth, surrendering a leadoff walk and then watching Matt Wieters place a flair to right perfectly on the line and past Cody Ross for a triple. He would score on a Wilson Betemit single.
Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia combined for a fourth run in the fifth, putting Boston back on top for a third time, but Adrian Gonzalez helped the Orioles to grab a run off Vicente Padilla, foolishly throwing to third to try and catch Mark Reynolds rather than taking the easy out at first. Reynolds would score on what would have been an inning-ending double play after a walk loaded the bases.
With neither side scoring in the next few innings, the game headed to extra innings. Alfredo Aceves was outstanding for the Sox, striking out the side in each of the tenth and eleventh innings and adding another pair of outs in the twelfth. Franklin Morales would come on to finish the frame, but then fell apart in the thirteenth, surrendering two singles and a walk to bring a run home for the Orioles. Scott Atchison would allow a second to come in on a sacrifice fly, leaving the Sox down 6-4. With Jim Johnson throwing a 1-2-3 thirteenth, the Sox fell again.
Adrian Gonzalez Finds His Bat: His defensive blunder may have cost the Red Sox the game, but Adrian at least showed up with the bat, picking up three singles--two of them well-hit--to break an extended slump that saw him cost the Red Sox in big offensive situation recently.
Jon Lester Struggles: It wasn't a particularly pretty night for Jon Lester, who just could not get the ball into the strike zone trying to stay away from right-handed hitters. While Sox fans might have hoped that Lester was back after his strong start in Chicago, right now it's looking like it's April 34 rather than May 4.
A Bullpen Game: Sadly, even on a night when the bullpen was decent, the Sox fall to a surprising performance from the Orioles'. One year ago it would have been unthinkable to see the Orioles find eight scoreless innings from the pen, but tonight that was the reality. Still, the Red Sox received some exceptional stuff from Alfredo Aceves, and Matt Albers has two more scoreless innings to his name, so at least the signs of improvement continue.
A shaky inning for Vicente Padilla and the Boston defense proved enough opportunity for the Orioles to tie up the game in time to force extra innings on the Red Sox.
The damage came in the seventh as Mark Reynolds managed to guide a ground ball perfectly down the third base line for a leadoff double. Adrian Gonzalez was responsible for the next baserunner, firing an ill-advised throw to third rather than taking the easy out at first even though Reynolds was almost guaranteed to be safe. This would prove very costly as the double play that followed a walk of Robert Andino allowed the Sox to turn two. Had there already been the one out, then that would have been the inning. Instead it was good for the equalizer.
The Red Sox had a chance to end the game in the ninth as Ryan Sweeney led off the inning with a single, but after a sacrifice bunt by Kelly Shoppach, Mike Aviles and Will Middlebrooks could only ground out.
Jon Lester has had a tough time keeping leads for the Red Sox tonight, but Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks backed him up after his most recent stumble to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead through six innings.
With the Sox having just gone up 3-1 in the bottom of the third, Jon Lester immediately surrendered the lead in the top of the fourth. A walk from Adam Jones to lead off the inning was followed by a perfectly placed flair to right field that hit the chalk for Matt Wieters. The ball bounced up past Cody Ross, allowing Wieters to reach third and Jones to score before the right fielder could get it back in. Wieters would score on a Wilson Betemit single to tie it up at 3-3.
The Sox would go quietly in the bottom half of the fourth, but then got back on top in the fifth. Will Middlebrooks would lead off the inning with his third major league hit, doubling off the Monster. Adrian Gonzalez seemed to have a chance to bring him in when he hit a long fly ball to left, but Betemit ran the ball down leaving the job to Dustin Pedroia. The former MVP did not disappoint, quickly singling up the middle to plate Middlebrooks and give the Sox the 4-3 lead.
The Red Sox are out to a 3-1 lead against the Orioles, getting to Wei-Yin Chen in the third to break a 1-1 tie.
The first inning did not promise good things for the Orioles' Taiwanese pitcher, but not by any fault of his own, as twice with two outs his defense would bungle throws to first, allowing the Sox a chance to score the first run with David Ortiz at the plate. While Chen managed to avoid damage in that particular situation, he could not in the second, when Cody Ross led off the inning with a triple and scored on a passed ball.
Jon Lester, meanwhile, had rolled through the first two innings without too much difficulty, picking up one strikeout, four ground balls and a pop-up around a J.J. Hardy single. He would make his first real mistake in the third, when he left a fastball up to Mark Reynolds. The powerful third baseman took advantage, launching a long fly ball into the Monster seats to tie the game.
The Sox would get rolling again, however, in the bottom half of the third, with Adrian Gonzalez finally breaking his hitless streak with a line drive to center field and Dustin Pedroia moving him over to third with a double. A pair of productive outs would score both runners, leaing the Sox on top 3-1.
The Red Sox will take on the Orioles in the first match of a three-game set Friday night as Jon Lester looks to end Boston's losing streak at two games. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Bobby Valentine will experiment with an interesting new lineup tonight, featuring exciting young third baseman Will Middlebrooks batting second and Dustin Pedroia hitting cleanup as he hopes for some better results than the Sox have seen in the last couple of losses. The bottom of the lineup seems fairly typical against a lefty, with righties stacked everywhere.
Boston Red Sox (11-13)
Baltimore Orioles (16-9)
The Red Sox and Orioles will go head-to-head in a three-game weekend series as Boston tries to finally right the ship.
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