BALTIMORE — A few notes from an interesting day at the ballpark:
• It's the little things that count. The Red Sox had not scored in 18 consecutive innings when Dustin Pedroia stepped to the plate in the fourth inning. The Baltimore Orioles had a two-run lead at that point and the many Red Sox fans in the crowd at Camden Yards were growing restless.
Dustin Pedroia appeared to strike out on a curveball in the dirt from Freddy Garcia. But Pedroia turned to umpire Jeff Nelson and said he ticked the ball with his bat.
Nelson ruled it a foul ball. Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the call, as did Garcia. Nelson, after checking the ball, said his decision stood.
Pedroia flicked the next pitch into center field for a single. Two batters later, Mike Carp hit a home run to right field. The Sox took the lead later in that inning and went on to a 5-4 victory.
It was a big break for the Red Sox — especially because Pedroia never actually made contact with the pitch. He only thought he did.
“The last four or five games, the ball looks like a baby aspirin coming in. I actually thought I did hit it,” Pedroia said. “I swung and felt something and I'm like, 'Could have swore I fouled that ball off.' And then I didn't. That's kind of how locked in I am at the plate.”
Garcia never recovered. Jonny Gomes singled to left field after Carp’s home run and scored on a double by Stephen Drew. Pedroia drove in a run in the fifth inning then Gomes homered in the sixth.
“That was a really bad call and I lost a little of my concentration,” Garcia said. “It shouldn’t happen. … When you face a lineup like that, one thing can change the game.”
• John Farrell felt the first inning was the key to the game. With two runs in, two on and nobody out, John Lackey didn't allow another run.
“Can’t really do too much about a couple of guys getting on once they’re on,” Lackey said. “You’ve got to minimize it as best you can, locate it a little better.”
Lackey had more good work in the fifth inning. Taylor Teagarden led off with a grounder to third base that Jose Iglesias booted. It was charitably ruled a hit. McLouth followed with a grounder to second base that went through the legs of Pedroia for his first error of the season.
Lackey, aided by Jarrod Saltalamacchia throwing out McLouth trying to steal second, didn't allow a run.
Pedroia had gone 97 consecutive games without an error, one shy of matching his own team record. Lackey said the ball going through the second baseman’s legs was one of the more surprising things he’s even seen on a baseball field.
“I told him that I’ll probably not have to worry about seeing that again. I’ll be gone before that happens,” Lackey said. “It’s always satisfying to pick up a teammate and not let that guy score.”
Lackey has a 3.08 ERA after 11 starts.
• Mike Carp is hitting .320 with a 1.052 OPS in 103 at-bats. He has driven in 25 runs. Not bad for a guy who was purchased from Seattle a few days into spring training after he was designated.
• Andrew Bailey blew a save Monday and nearly again today when some rock-headed base-running saved him. He has decent numbers (21.1 IP, 16 H, 9 BB, 30 K), but the first batter he faces has gotten on base nine times in 22 attempts.
• The Sox have not won consecutive games against the O's since taking four straight from July 7-10, 2011. Jon Lester takes the mound Sunday against Miguel Gonzalez.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the hockey. Go B's.