LOSING STREAK IS OVAH (10:05, FINAL, 3-1 SOX)
Papelbon made it interesting, loading the bases with one out, but struck out Scott, and then got Mora swinging for the final out. It ended four straight perfect appearances by Papelbon, who hadn’t allowed a baserunner since giving up two hits, a walk, and a run on July 8 against Oakland. Boston’s five-game losing streak has ended. Playing Baltimore at Fenway is a good recipe: the Sox are now 28-6 against the Orioles in their past 34 Fenway meetings.
END IS NEAR? (9:45, END 8, 3-1 SOX)
The Sox went in order in the eighth, but the door to the bullpen has opened and Jonathan Papelbon is coming on for a save opportunity, something he hasn’t had in a while.
DREW! DREW! DREW! (9:40, MID 8, 3-1 SOX)
J.D. Drew recorded all three outs as Okajima set the Orioles down in order. Ty Wigginton pinch hit for Izturis. Looking to end a five-game losing streak, the Sox are hoping to hit just one more time.
OKAJIMA ON (9:32, END 7, 3-1 SOX)
The Red Sox didn’t threaten in the seventh, getting a two-out walk by Bay. Hideki Okajima will start the eighth, the third Sox pitcher tonight.
STRETCH TIME (9:21, MID 7, 3-1 SOX)
Brad Penny started the inning, Manny Delcarmen finished it, and the Sox still lead. Penny’s line: 6.1 innings, 5 hits, 1 unearned run, no walks, 4 strikeouts. He’s in line to get the win, which seems safe: the Sox are 44-2 this year when leading after 6 innings.
MORE DEFENSE (9:09, END 6, 3-1 SOX)
The Sox looked like they would add to the lead, but Markakis threw a strike to Wieters from right field to cut down Ellsbury, who was trying to score from second on a single by Pedroia. Penny headed back to the mound …
EASY AS 1-2-3 (9:01, MID 6, 3-1 SOX)
Penny is getting stronger as the game progresses, retiring the side in order for the second time tonight. Lowell made a great grab by the stands on Roberts, Youkilis underhanded to Penny to get Jones, and Markakis struck out swinging.
PADDING THE LEAD (8:53, END 5, 3-1 SOX)
Five innings, five leadoff men on base for the Sox. Youkilis worked a walk, and moved to third on a sharply-hit single by Ortiz, which Huff couldn’t handle. Youkilis scored when Drew beat out a throw from Mora, who was trying to complete a Huff-to-Mora-to-Huff double play. Lowell struck out.
DUCKING FOR COVER (8:41, MID 5, 2-1 SOX)
Penny is finding his groove, and his reflexes are sharp, too. He’s retired 12 of the last 14 batters. Wieters kept him on his toes, fouling a pitch off, which shattered the bat and sent the barrel and assorted shards flying toward Penny. He ducked, and Pedroia picked up the broken bat. Wieters singled, but was erased when Izturis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
SOX LEAD (8:31, END 4, 2-1 SOX)
The fourth time was the charm. The Sox put the leadoff man on for the fourth straight inning, Drew snapping an 0-for-24 slump with a sharp single to center. Lowell doubled him to third with a rope down the third-base line, and Varitek’s single to right-center scored Drew and pushed Lowell to third. Lowrie sent Lowell home with a sacrifice fly to center. Doesn’t it seem like it’s been a while since the Sox were ahead in a game?
DEFENSE SHINES (8:19, MID 4, 1-0 ORIOLES)
The Sox might be struggling at the plate, but they continue to flash some leather. Ellsbury made another outstanding play, running down Markakis’s long fly to center. He’s really fun to watch in center field. Pedroia did him one better, diving to his right to grab a grounder by Huff, and getting up to throw to Youkilis, narrowly recording the out. Reimond singled (his second of the game), but Scott bounced out to Pedroia. Penny is up to 76 pitches.
MORE OF THE SAME (8:09, END 3, 1-0 ORIOLES)
Another leadoff man on, and no runs. Pedroia opened with a single, but Youkilis struck out swinging for the second time tonight, Ortiz flew out to deep left, and Bay hit a hard one-hopper to short that Mora handled, flipping to Roberts to force out Pedroia.
PUT A STAR BY THAT ONE (8:02, MID 3, 1-0 ORIOLES)
Penny retires the side, thanks to Ellsbury, who made a diving catch on Jones to end the inning. Penny struck out Cesar Izturis, then retired Roberts on a flyout to left. But Ellsbury came charging on Jones’s sinking liner, leaving his feet and making a highlight grab.
WALK WASTED (7:56, END 2, 1-0 ORIOLES)
For the second straight inning the Sox put the leadoff man on, but generate no runs. Mike Lowell walked, and advanced no further. Varitek fouled out to Mora at third, Jed Lowrie flew out to right, and Mora made a nice play on Ellsbury, ranging behind the bag at second.
BIRD STRIKE (7:50, MID 2, 1-0 ORIOLES)
A 14-pitch at-bat by Melvin Mora — and a stolen base/error — have put Baltimore in front. Nolan Reimold opened with a single, and after a flyout, stole second, the Orioles’ second swipe of the night. Jason Varitek’s throw went into center, allowing Reimold to take third. Mora followed with a line drive to center that Ellsbury caught, but Reimold scored easily.
CHANCE WASTED (7:34, END 1, 0-0)
The good news: The Sox put three runners on. The bad news: Nobody scored. Jacoby Ellsbury opened with a single and Dustin Pedroia walked, stoking a possible rally. But Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz struck out (both swinging), and after an infield single by Jason Bay loaded the bases, J.D. Drew flew out to center.
SOLID START (7:22, MID 1, 0-0)
The lights are on, Fenway Park is full. Brad Penny easily retired the first two batters, then gave up a Wall ball single to Nick Markakis, who promptly stole second. Perry got out of the mini-jam by striking out Aubrey Huff. Up come the Sox. Will runs still be hard to come by?