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The game would start very poorly for Clay Buchholz. After giving up a single on the first pitch he threw, Buchholz saw two of three ground balls hit to the right side of the infield get through for hits, leaving him in an early 2-0 hole.
The bottom of the order would scrape a run back for Buchholz in the top of the second, but once again the first ptich was a dangerous one for the right-hander. A fastball to Mark Reynolds caught too much of the plate, and the first baseman took Buchholz out of the park, undoing all of the work the offense had done to grab just that one run.
Having given up three runs in two innings, this could easily have been chalked up to one bad start-more than earned by Buchholz' recent effectiveness. The stopper, however, had different ideas, and was going to do his best to play the part regardless. A pair of double play balls would get him through the third and fourth innings facing just six batters, turning the game back to the offense in the sixth.
While Chris Tillman entered the frame well ahead of Buchholz, the Sox had done a decent job of building his pitch count, and finally broke through again come the fifth. This time it was the top of the order getting the job done, with Carl Crawford singling up the middle and Dustin Pedroia doubling him to third. A wild pitch helped score Crawford, and allowed Pedroia to move within 90 feet, which was close enough for Gonzalez to bring him home on a sacrifice fly.
After a shutdown inning from Buchholz, the Sox quickly got to work again in the sixth. Starting with a Scott Podsednik double, the Sox would put men on the corners with two outs for Dustin Pedroia. While Pedroia appeared ready to end the inning with a weak ground ball to third, Manny Machado could not make the play, allowing the go-ahead run to come in. Singles to left and right from Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross respectively followed, and by the time the inning was over it was 6-3 Red Sox.
Boston pitchers have had some trouble once granted leads in the past, but Buchholz would have none of it tonight, and he started the final half of the game with a little bit of history. Three pitches got Adam Jones watching strike three, three more felled Matt Wieters in similar fashion, and when three pitches later Chris Davis went down swinging at a changeup, it was in the books: nine pitches, three strikeouts, one immaculate inning. It's only been done 46 times before in the history of the MLB, making it about twice as common as a perfect game and five times as rare as a no-hitter.
Buchholz would continue on through the eighth before turning the ball over to Alfredo Aceves for a clean ninth inning, leaving them 6-3 winners in Baltimore.
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The Sox can only hope to dodge the sweep tonight as Clay Buchholz takes on Chris Tillman in the last game of a three-game set. We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it goes down in Camden Yards.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3, Mid 8th -- Steve Johnson picks up a pair of strikeouts in the eighth, leaving the Red Sox stuck with just the three run lead. Chances are that's what they'll need to hold, but the way Buchholz is going right now, that may not be an issue.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3, End 7th -- From a bad beginning, Clay Buchholz has really pulled this game back. Buchholz does give up a one-out walk, but picks up a strike out and pop-up to send things to the eighth, where he could certainly continue to pitch.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3, Mid 7th -- The Sox don't make any history in the seventh, putting just one man on as Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the inning with a single before being stranded by the bottom of the order.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3, End 6th -- It's going unnoticed by the broadcast, but Clay Buchholz just made history.
Coming up against Adam Jones, Buchholz dotted the outside corner with a curveball, got Jones to swing at another, and then planted a cutter in the zone for a strikeout.
Next up was Matt Wieters. Foul ball, swing through a cutter, take a fastball for strike three.
Finally, Chris Davis: foul, foul, whiffs on a changeup.
Clay Buchholz threw nine pitches and recorded three strikeouts. This was the 47th time such a feat has been accomplished in the history of the MLB. That makes it about five times as rare as a no-hitter in the modern era alone.
It won't get the same press as Felix Hernandez' perfect game, or even Buchholz' no-hitter in this very park five years ago, but it's very much a historic achievement.
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3, Mid 6th -- With Chris Tillman out of the ball game, the Sox go to work in earnest. A one-out double from Scott Podsednik makes for another rally started by the bottom of the order, and with Jacoby Ellsbury walking behind him the Sox have two on for Carl Crawford. While the left fielder can't come through with his third hit of the night, he does beat out a double play ball, keeping the inning alive and runners on the corners for Dustin Pedroia.
Unfortunately, the second baseman isn't able to get the ball out of the infield either. Luckily for him, Manny Machado was playing deep and came up empty trying to scoop the ball out of the grass, letting Pedroia reach first and a run come in. Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross quickly follow up with line drives to left and right field respectively, and while Adrian Gonzalez is thrown out trying to take this on the last hit, it's only because the cutoff man chose to cut him down at third rather than risk a play at the plate, allowing Pedroia to score ahead of him to make it 6-3, Red Sox.
Red Sox 3, Orioles 3, End 5th -- A two-out walk to J.J. Hardy keeps Buchholz from having his first 1-2-3 frame of the night, but it's still a good enough frame to hold the tie the offense finally worked its way into.
Red Sox 3, Orioles 3, Mid 5th -- The top of the order are the guys to start the rally in the fifth, and this time it earns them a tie in fairly quick fashion. Carl Crawford got things rolling with a single up the middle--his second hit of the game, bringing his average back up to .294--and Dustin Pedroia quickly moved him to third with a double into center field. A wild pitch would advance both runners, bringing Crawford home, but Adrian Gonzalez could only manage a medium-distance fly ball. Pedroia, however, decided to test the strong arm of Adam Jones, tagging up and breaking for home. Jones' throw was strong, but it wasn't quite on target, pulling Matt Wieters just wide enough to allow Pedroia to slide around the tag and tie the game.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Clay Buchholz benefits from yet another double play after Mark Reynolds grabs a base hit off the unusually vulnerable righty.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- The bottom of the lineup once again starts a rally, but this time the Sox don't get the one big hit they need, with Scott Podsednik striking out on a 3-2 fastball down the middle, stranding two men on base.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 1, End 3rd -- Clay Buchholz also gets his first 1-2-3 inning, but only with the help of a double play ball after hitting Adam Jones with one out.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 3rd -- Three fly balls get Chris Tillman through the third in short order--his first 1-2-3 inning of the night.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 1, End 2nd -- And after all Boston's hard work in the top of the second, Clay gives the run back on the first pitch of the bottom of the second, surrendering a high fly ball that just keeps going until it reaches the center field stands. The Sox are given two quick outs after a double and walk when Nick Markakis' bunt dies right in front of home plate, letting Saltalamacchia fire to third to start a double play, but still need a strong throw from right on a base hit to catch Omar Quintanilla for the final out.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 1, Mid 2nd -- The Red Sox claw a run back with a two-out rally in the second featuring names no less luminous than Punto, Ciriaco, and Podsednik. The first draws a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, took third on an infield single from the second, and then finally scored when Tillman left a changeup high to the last man, who sent it into the outfield for the RBI.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- Hey, Sox fans, y'know that one nice thing we've been allowed to hold on to? Namely: Clay Buchholz and his starts the last few months? Well, we can't have that either, turns out. After a line drive single on the first pitch of his outing, Buchholz sees two straight ground balls get past Adrian Gonzalez, with the second hugging the right field line and going for a two-run double. Buchholz manages to battle back with a couple of ground ball outs and a strikeout, but it's not the start the Sox were hoping for.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 1st -- Carl Crawford continues to look shockingly similar to a real baseball player, getting ahead of Chris Tillman 3-0 and then punishing him by slapping a line drive double into right field. Dustin Pedroia seems ready to bring him in when Tillman offers up a hanging curveball, but the resulting line drive stays up in the air just long enough for Nate McLouth to get under it in left. Adrian Gonzalez goes chasing after a 3-2 curveball in the dirt, and just like that, the inning's over.
The Red Sox can only hope to avoid a sweep as they send Clay Buchholz to the mound Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
Jacoby Ellsbury will get a half-day off for the Red Sox as he slots into the DH spot with David Ortiz still missing a full month after injuring himself rounding the basepaths. The Sox have been contorting themselves every-which-way to fill in for their missing slugger, but the absence of their best hitter has been sorely felt.
Mike Aviles, meanwhile, will get the full night off, with Pedro Ciriaco batting eighth and playing shortstop while Nick Punto continues on at third. Scott Podsednik will bring up the tail end of the order as he takes over for Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.
Boston Red Sox (57-61)
Baltimore Orioles (64-53)
The Red Sox fell to the Orioles 5-3 Wednesday night after a costly five-run sixth inning.
Aaron Cook started the game about as well as he's started any game before. Getting through the first three innings without giving up a baserunner, Cook had the Orioles putting the ball on the ground time and again-always a good sign for the sinkerballer. In fact, through the end of five, Cook had a no-hitter going, thanks in part to an infield single turned into an out by a bad call from Laz Diaz to end the fourth.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, had done little better through the first five innings. After scoring fourteen runs in four innings on Sunday, the Sox had scored none in the last four, one in nine innings on Tuesday, and through the first four Wednesday, a goose egg. They had stranded runner after runner in the first game of the series, and got right back to that in the first inning against Miguel Gonzalez, leaving two on base. They would muster just the one baserunner over the next three innings as Gonzalez matched Cook zero-for-zero.
Finally, the Sox would break through in the fifth. Singles from Scott Podsednik and Nick Punto set the table, before a ground rule double to right-center off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury brought in a run, and a line drive sacrifice fly from Carl Crawford scored a second. Cook finally had his lead, but he would not hold it for long.
After allowing leadoff walks in both the fourth and fifth, Cook waited until he had one out to give up the free pass in the sixth. This time, though, hits followed. The first Orioles hit of the night-a ringing single to left from J.J. Hardy-was quickly followed by a second from Nate McLouth that cut the lead in half. While Cook would get the ground ball he needed to potentially get him out of the inning, his throw to second was well off the mark, resulting in a tie game and a runner on third with one out. A double to the wall in left made it an Orioles lead, and ended Cook's night.
The 3-2 lead was one the Sox could overcome, but it didn't stay that way even through the end of the sixth. Bobby Valentine turned to Andrew Miller, who did manage to pick up the second out with Dustin Pedroia firing home to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who held onto the ball despite a nasty collision at the plate. Junichi Tazawa would be next out of the pen, however, surrendering a double and an infield single to make it 5-2 before the Sox could end the inning.
The Sox would manage to pull one back in the seventh, but it would not be enough, with the 5-3 defeat ensuring a series loss.
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The Red Sox are out to even their series up at one game a piece as they take on the Orioles in Camden Yards. We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it progresses.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 3, End 8th -- Clay Mortensen strands a pair of baserunners in the eighth to keep the Sox within two runs headed into the ninth.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- Pedro Strop gets the Red Sox to go in order in the eighth, leaving them with just three outs left. They won't have Adrian Gonzalez around, either, as both he and Bobby Valentine were ejected arguing over an alleged quick-pitch from Strop.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- Craig Breslow, who recorded the last out of the sixth, gets a clean inning of work against the top of the Baltimore order.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 7th -- The Sox manage to pull one back in the seventh thanks to a one-out error from J.C. Romero, whose errant throw on a come-backer pulls Mark Reynolds off the bag and allows Nick Punto to reach. A single from Jacoby Ellsbury moves Punto along to third, from where Carl Crawford is able to bring him home with a ground ball.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- And in typical Red Sox fashion, everything falls dramatically apart. Aaron Cook goes from a no-hitter to two runs in, giving up a one-out walk and two singles before throwing away the double play ball he so desperately needed well to the left of the second base bag. After a double to Nick Markakis brought home a third run, Cook was finally lifted for Andrew Miller, who got a ground ball to Dustin Pedroia who fired home for the out there, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia absorbing a big hit at the plate. The inning wasn't over yet, however. Bobby V elected to turn to Junichi Tazawa against Mark Reynolds and was rewarded with a rocket double to left and a ground ball that could have resulted in a sixth run were it not for a backhanded play by Mike Aviles to keep it from the outfield.
Red Sox 2, Orioles 0, Mid 6th -- Miguel Gonzalez lives dangerously, giving up a long fly ball to Adrian Gonzalez that just dies on the track in left and a sinking line drive to Cody Ross that Adam Jones makes a nice play on. Jarrod Saltalamacchia does manage to pick up a hit with a flare to right, but Mike Aviles is the third victim of good contact, no results, going down on a line drive of his own to end the threat.
Red Sox 2, Orioles 0, End 5th -- Aaron Cook again gives up a leadoff walk--just the second baserunner of the night for the Orioles--but this time the strikeout and two ground balls that follow all result in clear, clean outs, keeping the Orioles off the board yet again without any controversy.
Red Sox 2, Orioles 0, Mid 5th -- The Sox finally get on the board in the top of the fifth thanks to some set-up play by two unlikely sources. After a pop-up from Mike Aviles, both Scott Podsednik and Nick Punto jump-start the inning by going back up the middle for singles. With two on and one out, Jacoby Ellsbury provided a long fly ball to right-center and, while it didn't get out the way it might have in 2011, the ball did fall into the gap and kick up into the stands before the outfielders can close, allowing one run to come in.
While Carl Crawford's swing on the first pitch he saw could well have provided another hit, possibly even a double with better placement, he hits it right to Adam Jones in center. It is enough, however, for Punto to come home, with Jones throwing all the way to the backstop in his efforts to catch the infielder as he tagged up and scored.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 4th -- Aaron Cook and the Sox are saved a run thanks to a bad call at first base. After a leadoff walk to Nick Markakis, Cook gets three straight ground balls. The first two are outs, but the third one should have been called an infield single, as Mike Aviles took too long to get the ball to first. Laz Diaz, however, gives the call to the Red Sox, and the tie is preserved.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 4th -- Adrian Gonzalez gets on base this time, but it's with nobody on ahead of him. Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia quickly make the next two outs, and it's another scoreless frame for the Sox, who have one run in thirteen innings against the Orioles.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 3rd -- The second pitch of the inning results in some sharp contact from Mark Reynolds, but the ball goes right to Mike Aviles at short, and the next two batters keep it on the ground for 1-2-3 third that costs Cook just the six pitches.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 3rd -- The Red Sox get some pretty decent contact off of Gonzalez in the third, but it hardly goes according to plan, with both Nick Punto and Carl Crawford's swings resulting on line drives that go right to the man, or hang up just too long to get in for a hit.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 2nd -- This time Cook doesn't bother with the one fly ball, keeping everything on the ground in the second, and all to the strong right side of the infield in a 1-2-3 inning.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 2nd -- Well, the Sox found a way to stop leaving ridiculous amounts of runners on base: you just don't put them there in the first place. 1-2-3 went the Boston bats in the top of the second, failing to so much as clear the Punto.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 1st -- Good news early on for Aaron Cook, who gets two ground ball outs in a clean first inning of work. More ground balls means more outs for the sinker specialist.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 1st -- The Sox pick up right where they left off last night. After Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out weakly to first, Carl Crawford worked a walk (a painful one at that, fouling a ball off of his ankle) and Dustin Pedroia singled through the left side of the infield to put runners at the corners with one out. Adrian Gonzalez, however, was up to the same tricks as in Tuesday's game, when he drove in zero runs despite having every opportunity. His fly ball produced the second out of the frame, and with Cody Ross going down on strikes behind him, the Red Sox already have two stranded runners.
The Red Sox will look to even up their series with the Baltimore Orioles as they send Aaron Cook to the mound against former Sox farmhand Miguel Gonzalez. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
While the focus of Boston fans and media alike continues to lie on Jeff Passan's expose on the internal politics of the clubhouse, there are still games to be played, even if there aren't the best of players to play them. The Sox will deal with that particular issue tonight, as their lineup features a back-three of Mike Aviles, Scott Podsednik, and Nick Punto.
The front six looks much better, of course, featuring the usual selection of players against right-handed pitchers, but that is one ugly back three.
Boston Red Sox (57-60)
Baltimore Orioles (63-53)
The Boston Red Sox fell 7-1 to the Baltimore Orioles after coming up empty with runners in scoring position as Josh Beckett and Mark Melancon combined to surrender five runs in the sixth inning.
What began as a promising start for Josh Beckett would be marred at first by just a pair of bad pitches. Each of them fastballs that seemed almost to float in to Omar Quintanilla and Mark Reynolds. The first came in the third to Quintanilla on the first pitch of the inning, the second to Reynolds on the second pitch of the inning. Each ended well over the wall in right field.
The Red Sox had enough in the tank to respond to the first homer, scoring in the fourth on hits from Cody Ross and Carl Crawford, but for the rest of the night they were woefully absent in big moments, stranding at least one baserunner in each of the first eight innings. Two were left hanging in the third as Adrian Gonzalez flew out to deep left, and two more in the sixth when Mike Aviles struck out and Danny Valencia flew out, each with a runner on third.
The worst failure would come in the seventh, when the Sox failed to score with the bases loaded and one out. By that time, however, the game was all-but-over. Facing his sixth inning of work, Beckett gave up a walk and a single, and then with one out had a chopper get by him and Mike Aviles, with Dustin Pedroia only able to put a glove on the ball much too late to record the out. Another single saw him out of the game facing a 4-1 deficit, and when Mark Melancon allowed a three-run shot with his first pitch of the game, it was all over.
After a day already marked by the nasty Jeff Passan story, the Sox played down to the tenor of the day. A disaster game for a disaster night, and an unfortunate way to honor the late Johnny Pesky.
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Between the 57-59 record and Jeff Passan's article, the action on the field has taken a back seat to the action in the locker room today. Still, the season continues, and we'll keep you up-to-date as the Sox take on the Orioles in Camden Yards.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- Andrew Bailey records the last out of the inning. That might be literally the only good news the Red Sox have today.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- Just in order to keep up the Red Sox' run of innings with a stranded baserunner, Danny Valencia singles with two down before Jacoby Ellsbury grounds out to end the frame.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- Mark Melancon gets through the seventh without harm, but the out they really needed him to get came last inning.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th -- The Sox have an opportunity to get right back into the game, and do nothing with it. After the top of the lineup put together a single, double, and walk to load the bases with one out, Cody Ross went down on strikes, and while Ryan Lavarnway was able to work a fine battle against Darren O'Day, the right-handed reliever brought a fastball back over the plate to strike him out looking and end the threat.
Orioles 7, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Game almost certainly over, as the Orioles score big in the sixth. A single and a walk put two on with just one out for Josh Beckett, and when Matt Wieters hits a chopper up the middle, things fall completely apart. One run comes in as none of Josh Beckett, Mike Aviles, or Dustin Pedroia can make a play to give the Sox an out, and after another ground ball up the middle gives the Orioles a fourth run, he's pulled for Mark Melancon. The first pitch is a curveball that hangs up over the middle to Mark Reynolds, and once again the infielder doesn't miss his opportunity, launching his second shot of the night to make it 7-1.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- More wasted opportunities for the Red Sox in the sixth inning. Another pair of hits from Cody Ross and Carl Crawford put runners on the corner with just one out, but Mike Aviles can't even put the bat on the ball for the third time tonight, and Danny Valencia can only fly out to end the inning.
Orioles 2, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- Once again Josh Beckett has trouble very early in the inning. His second pitch in the bottom of the fifth is almost a carbon copy of the one to Quintanilla, and with Mark Reynolds at the plate the result is the exact same: a no-doubt shot to right field that puts the Sox behind a run yet again.
Red Sox 1, Orioles 1, Mid 5th -- Adrian Gonzalez fails to come through for the third time tonight, grounding out to first to end the fifth inning after a two-out triple from Dustin Pedroia.
Red Sox 1, Orioles 1, End 4th -- Jacoby Ellsbury races down a line drive off the bat of Matt Wieters to keep Beckett's fourth inning nice and clean.
Red Sox 1, Orioles 1, Mid 4th -- The Sox respond in a hurry, grabbing their own first run in the top of the fourth. A leadoff ground rule double on a rocket to left gets Cody Ross in scoring position right away, and after a ground ball from Ryan Lavarnway moved Ross to third, Carl Crawford was able to bounce a single up the middle and bring the right fielder in to score, evening it up at 1-1.
Orioles 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- The first pitch of the bottom of the third is a 90 MPH--fastball? Cutter? Changeup? It's often hard to tell with Beckett--that almost floats over the plate, high enough for Omar Quintanilla to turn on it and send it well over the wall and even out of the park to right, giving the Orioles first blood and a 1-0 lead.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 3rd -- The Sox get another shot with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate as Pedro Ciriaco doubled and Dustin Pedroia walked with two outs in the inning. The big-swinging first baseman did manage to give one a ride to left, but it died before the track, leaving the Red Sox with two more stranded baserunners.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 2nd -- Josh Beckett gets into trouble with a one-out walk and ground ball single, and then back out of it, reaching back for some extra velocity and retiring Mark Reynolds and the exciting young Manny Machado back-to-back to escape the inning.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox strand another baserunner after Ryan Lavarnway dumps a fly ball into the perfect spot down the line in right field. Carl Crawford fought a decent battle with Chen, but ultimately grounded out ahead of Mike Aviles, who at least fouled off a few before striking out.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, End 1st -- Josh Beckett gets through a clean, 1-2-3 first inning with a pop-up handled by Mike Aviles well into left field being the most dangerous contact of the inning.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 1st -- Jacoby Ellsbury leads off the game with a single to left on the eighth pitch of a long battle against Wei-Yin Chen. The Sox, however, give away an out with a sacrifice bunt from no. 2 hitter Pedro Ciriaco, and neither Dustin Pedroia nor Adrian Gonzalez can pick up a hit to make good, letting Chen escape the first largely unharmed.
Bobby Valentine can't catch a break. Yahoo! Sports reports that several Boston Red Sox players, including Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, blasted Valentine in a heated meeting in New York with ownership in July.
The Red Sox will send Josh Beckett to the mound to kick off their three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
With the trade of Kelly Shoppach to the Mets earlier this afternoon, the Sox will be forced to keep at least one of their catchers out of the lineup. Salty will be the odd man out against the left-handed Wei-Yin Chen, allowing Ryan Lavarnway to slot in behind the plate and Pedro Ciriaco of all people to play DH.
For the sixth time this season. Not a great sign for any campaign's chances.
With Ciriaco batting second, Carl Crawford will drop all the way down to seventh against the southpaw, with Danny Valencia taking over at third and batting ninth.
Boston Red Sox (57-59)
Baltimore Orioles (62-53)
The Red Sox will return to action against their own division as they take on the Orioles in a three-game set starting Tuesday night.
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