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Red Sox beat Orioles — and the schedule

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 19, 2011 12:00 AM

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BALTIMORE — There are times when the schedule beats even the best of teams. It is inevitable, especially in professional sports.

The Orioles played a day game on Sunday at home, the last out getting made at 4:35 p.m. The Red Sox were just arriving at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to prepare for a game that night against the Rays.

You know what happened next, the game went 16 innings before the Sox came away with a 1-0 victory. The last out was made at 1:54 a.m.

Only 17 hours and 13 minutes later, the Sox started their game against the Orioles. During that time, they showered and changed in Florida, rode a bus to the airport, flew to Baltimore, boarded another bus to their hotel and then fell into bed.

It was 6:15 a.m. by the time the players got to their rooms.

It's not unfair. It's just the way it is. When 30 teams are playing 15 games in different cities and in different time zones, there are bound to be times when one gets more rest than the other. There were a handful of times this season the Sox were on the other end of that equation.

Terry Francona batted away questions about his team being tired like he was swatting flies. If the manager complains, it sends a bad message to the players.

“Whatever time you get in, it doesn’t matter. We’re fine,” Francona said before the game. “It’s not like we all need that much beauty sleep anyway.”

Good teams find a way to win and the Sox did that, relying on their offense in a 15-10 victory. It was not exactly a memorable game, but it spoke to their determination.

“It’s tough. I was tired and I’m sure everyone else was,” said Dustin Pedroia, who drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the eighth inning. “We’re just all trying to win the game. That’s what we get paid to do. We’re trying to go play the game right and whatever situation comes up in the game, we have to respond to it."

Of course, playing Baltimore helped. The Sox have scored 61 runs in their last seven games against the O's. The Buck Showalter Pitching Change Carnival is not working out so well.

As to other stuff . . .

Carl Crawford was 2 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Based on his scoring from first on a double, his left hamstring is just fine.

• Big effort by Dan Wheeler, who tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Tim Wakefield to get the win. He had not pitched on Sunday and came to the park yesterday expecting he would be needed.

“There was no question. There were a couple of guys that weren’t available,” he said. “There was a pretty good chance no matter what the score was that I was going to be out there. I was preparing for that all day.”

• If you look at his last five games, you can see why the Red Sox showed great patience with Darnell McDonald. He is 4 for 11 with seven RBIs and three walks.

• Whither J.D. Drew? He was 0 for 3 and is down to .222. It's interesting to note that when the Orioles went to a lefty reliever, Francona used McDonald to pinch hit for Drew and not for Josh Reddick.

It will be intriguing to see what happens with David Ortiz returns from suspension. Reddick has not done enough to merit anything radical like releasing Drew. But he certainly deserves to play ahead of him.

There you go. That's it for tonight. Thanks to everybody for reading today.

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