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Red Sox 2, Orioles 6, Mid 7: Sox Two Innings Away From Wild Card Tie

The Red Sox are just two innings away from being stuck in a wild card tie with the Tampa Bay Rays.

While James Shields has made shutting down the Triple-A Yankees look as easy as it should be, Josh Beckett once again shut down in the late going, imploding violently in the sixth inning.

First, though, there was the fifth, and with it a tie game. A leadoff single and walk put two men on, and Chris Davis’ single brought one home to score the equalizer. Beckett would load the bases, but escaped on a pop-up and a nasty hook to Nick Markakis.

He would not be so successful in the sixth. Another leadoff single put him in trouble early, but after a couple of quick outs Beckett seemed prepared to escape again. It was not to be. Beckett lost control of the strike zone, gave up a walk to Mark Reynolds, and then a double down the line in right to give the Orioles a lead. That wouldn’t have been such a disaster were the next batter not Red Sox killer Robert Andino. A long fly ball to center field sent Jacoby Ellsbury crashing into the wall, allowing the ball to drop from his glove, and giving Andino free reign to score on an inside-the-park three-run shot.

It’s 6-2 Orioles, and suddenly the playoffs seem so very out of reach.