The Red Sox have gone into the All-Star break with a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles before 37,344. They are one-half game in first place over the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost their seventh straight game, a 5-2 decision to the Cleveland Indians yesterday.
It's the first time the Sox have been in first place since June 28.
Daisuke Matsuzaka improved to 10-1 with a 2.65 ERA with six shutout innings. The bullpen pitched three shutout innings with Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, and Jonathan Papelbon finishing off the O's, Papelbon getting an adventurous 28th save.
Papelbon allowed a two-out RBI single by Aubrey Huff in the ninth, but with runners at first and third and Malvin Mora at the plate, the Orioles' third baseman lined out to Dustin Pedroia to end the game. It was Papelbon's 100th career save.
The Sox All-Stars, including Sox manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff, are scheduled to take their own Acela train to New York after the game.
The one concern could be the health of All-Star first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who suffered a contusion of his left triceps after being hit with a Daniel Cabrera pitch in the fifth inning of today's game. X-rays were negative so it's a day-to-day situation.
Pedroia fell one hit shy for the most hits by a Sox player before the All-Star break. He had two hits today to give him 124, one short of Wade Boggs record.
The Sox are now 19-9 in day games.
They go off into the break with a 57-40 record.