BALTIMORE — Felix Doubront stood tall in the heat of a pennant race Saturday night, pitching well for the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles and finishing off what was a strong first season as a starter.
But it wasn’t quite good enough. Rookie Manny Machado’s line-drive home run to left field in the seventh inning gave the Orioles a 4-3 victory.
A sold-out crowd of 46,311 at Camden Yards saw the Orioles move into a tie for first place in the American League East with the Yankees, who were 3-2 losers in Toronto.
Both teams are 91-67 with four games to play.
The Sox, who start a three-game series in New York on Monday, have lost four straight and eight of their last nine games. At 69-89, they are back in last place. The Sox haven’t lost 90 games since 1966.
Doubront (11-10) allowed four runs, three earned, over seven innings in his final start of the season. He gave up seven hits, walked one, and struck out 10. The 24-year-old lefthander struck out 167 over 161 innings this season.
“I’m proud of the way he’s pitched all season and he should be proud,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
Doubront allowed nine earned runs over 26⅓ innings in his last four starts and struck out 31.
“That was the best, my last four games. One of my goals was to finish strong,” Doubront said. “I learned a lot of things about the game, about pitching. That’s what I’m proud of.”
Tommy Hunter (7-8) pitched two innings in relief for the win. Jim Johnson closed out the Sox for his 49th save.
Baltimore took a 3-0 lead after four innings, two runs coming on a homer by Chris Davis. But the Red Sox didn’t fold.
Mauro Gomez walked to lead off the fifth inning against Baltimore starter Steve Johnson before Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered to right field. Saltalamacchia has 25 homers this season, 23 coming as a catcher. The franchise record for catchers is 26 by Carlton Fisk, in 1973 and ’77.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the sixth inning before Scott Podsednik walked. Ellsbury moved to third on a ground out and scored on a fly ball to right field by Cody Ross that was dropped by Davis. It went as a sacrifice fly.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.