Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 6:
Game over. Way too close for comfort. After Ramon Ramirez’ poor outing necessitated having to bring in Jonathan Papelbon into a save situation with the score 7-4, Papelbon gave up a pair of RBI singles to Matt Wieters and Luke Scott, pulling the Orioles within one run. He then got busy, striking out Ty Wigginton and rookie Rhyne Hughes on a split-fingered pitch to end the game with two runners on base to record his 5th save. Sox win this with the long ball – a pair of 3-run homers by Marco Scutaro and Kevin Youkilis and a solo shot by Jason Varitek. Just like the old Oriole teams under Earl Weaver used to do. John Lackey put forth a quality start with 7 innings, three runs. Ramirez allowed a long home run over the Monster seats on a 3-2 pitch to Adam Jones and then a double to Markakis. That’s when Papelbon came on. Attendance was 38,017. The game was played in 3:08. The Orioles are now 2-16, the Sox 8-10.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Orioles 3
Two three-run homers. One for Marco Scutaro. One for Kevin Youkilis. The first thing that had to be done was to get Brian Matusz out of the game. Check. Matusz walked Bill Hall to open the 7th then allowed a Jeremy Hermida single. That brought him up to 102 pitches, plenty for a young lefty, at least O’s manager Dave Trembley thought so. In came righty Matt Albers. While warming up, we all awaited the pinch-hitter for Darnell McDonald. We thought J.D. Drew. No. Then nobody came out of the dugout until Big Papi emerged. It didn’t go so well, running the count to 3-2 before taking a called 3rd strike as Hermida stole second base. With runners at second and third Scutaro got around on an inside fastball on Albers’ first pitch and just got it into the first row of Monster seats, giving Boston its first lead of the game. After Albers came Kam Mickolio. It took him two pitches to give up Youkilis’ three-run blast into the Monsters. Update: Lackey is out after seven. He threw 111 pitches, allowed three runs, 10 hits, walked two and struck out three. Did his job.
Top 6th: Orioles 3, Red Sox 1
Floating 3-2 high fastball thrown by Lackey is drilled into the Monster seats in leftcenter by Ty Wigginton, who gives the O’s a two-run lead again.
Bottom 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1:
Mr. Matusz was no match for “The Captain,” Jason Varitek who led off the fifth with a homer to leftcenter, just under the light tower. It was Tek’s fourth homer and fourth RBI.
Top 5th: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0:
Lackey has kept the Sox in this one. He ran into some two-out difficulty in the fifth when he walked Markakis and allowed a single to Miggy Tejada, but got Matt Wieters to pop out. Darnell McDonald made a freight train (all out) play right in front of Bill Hall in right on a Lou Montanez drive to start the inning.
Bottom 4th; Orioles 2, Red Sox 0
Dustin Pedroia broke an 0-for-16 with a single. Back hitting second tonight with J.D. Drew out of the lineup, but it appears he may stay put in the No. 2 spot. Francona thought he might trying to do too much in the No. 3 spot and pressing. Anyway, Brian Matusz is pretty impressive and right now the Sox can’t do anything against him. Very poised lefthander.
Bottom 1st: Orioles 2, Red Sox 0
Holy run prevention! The Red Sox must be playing up the level of their competition. Matt Wieters stroked a single passed Mike Lowell, that he apparently didn’t see well off the bat because he reacted so slowly to it. This wasn’t a matter of reduced range. This was just not seeing the ball. Luke Scott then stroked a double off the Monster that Jeremy Hermida completely misplayed off the wall allowing Wieters to score. After Ty Wigginton singled, newly brought up (from Norfolk) first baseman Rhyne Hughes laced a single passed a diving Kevin Youkilis scoring Scott. Lackey needed a 5-4-3 double play grounder from Lou Montanez to keep the damage minimal.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Orioles 0
John Lackey walked Nick Markakis with two outs, but no worries. Miguel Tejada flied out to left. Chilly out there – 56 degrees.