The Red Sox are set to close out their series against the Baltimore Orioles, hoping (as they have been so often of late) just to dodge the sweep.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- Darren O'Day replaces Joe Saunders after a leadoff strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury, and then immediately surrenders a single to Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman gets himself caught stealing, however, and O'Day ends things with a strikeout of Cody Ross, leaving the SOx with a three run deficit and just three outs in which to close it.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- Chris Carpenter replaces Clayton Mortensen with a bit of a messy inning, but not an unsuccessful one. After a leadoff single and steal from Nate McLouth, the Orioles bunt him over to third. The Sox choose to put Chris Davis on behind him and pitch to Adam Jones, and the gambit ends up working perfectly. A ground ball gets the Sox a double play, and brings the inning to a scoreless conclusion.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3, Mid 7th -- The Sox draw closer in the seventh. Saunders finally has his mediocre pitching catch up to him again when he offers up a very Zach Stewart-like fastball to Daniel Nava, who drops it into the stands past the foul pole in left field with Ryan Lavarnway on base for a two-run shot. It's easy to forget how solid Nava was for the team back before his injury. He hasn't really found that consistency again since, but it's nice to see some positive signs.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Clayton Mortensen finishes of the sixth in short order. He's done plenty of work tonight for a guy who's been used mostly as a one-inning reliever, and given that his only run came on a pretty good pitch, he's done a very good job for the team.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- It's a tired mantra by now, but more hard hits still lead to nothing in the fifth, with everything in the air and occasionally on a line against Joe Saunders in another 1-2-3 frame.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- It's a tough-luck homer that costs Clayton Mortensen a run in the fifth. A changeup starts low and goes lower, but Chris Davis manages to get underneath it and golf it into the stands for a solo shot that makes it 6-1.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- Pedro Ciriaco is the one picking up the double this inning, and Jose Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury are the men leaving him stranded afterwards. They've got to make good on all these extra base hits at some point.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Clayton Mortensen does good work in his first full inning, getting a 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout of Nate McLouth.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- The Sox finally turn that loud contact into results, with Cody Ross ripping a leadoff solo shot to deep left field. That's all they manage, however, as Danny Valencia's single is erased by a double play.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Zach Stewart goes back to his old ways in the third, and is rewarded with a trip to the dugout. After J.J. Hardy took him deep on another floating "fastball", Stewart surrendered another pair of hits which, with an Adam Jones single mixed in, was good for a fifth run. Clayton Mortensen would be called on to end things with a strikeout of Ryan Flaherty, but the damage is done.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- This time it's Jose Iglesias of all people to get the big contact off of Joe Saunders. Unlike the first two innings, however, it's an isolated incident in an otherwise strong third, with two ground balls and a strikeout of Pedro Ciriaco besides.
Orioles 3, Reds Sox 0, End 2nd -- Surprisingly enough, Stewart follows up his awful first with a 1-2-3 second, with all three outs coming on the ground. Quite the change from the first.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- More hard contact marks the second inning against Joe Saunders, and this time Ryan Lavarnway actually manages to turn some of that into a double, giving the Sox their first baserunner. Saunders has his first really successful at bat to finish things, however, striking out Daniel Nava to end the frame.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The answer is yes, but barely. On just the fourth pitch of the game, Stewart floats an 89 MPH "fastball" high and slightly outside to Nate McLouth who obliges by going to the opposite field for a leadoff solo shot. That's just the opening volley, however. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners and Adam Jones gets hit to load the bases still without an out in the inning. Given that situation, the end result could have been worse, but Matt Wieters grounds into a double play in the next at bat bringing a run in the back door. Another single, this time from Jim Thome, serves to make it 3-0, but still, it could have been much worse.
Red Sox 0, Orioles 0, Mid 1st -- Joe Saunders gets through the first inning 1-2-3, but it wasn't exactly the sort of performance that inspires thoughts of no-hitters. The Sox get plenty of contact off the former Diamondback, which should turn into actual offense if it continues. The question is: will they still be in the game after Stewart takes the mound?