Final: Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: After posting a 14-0 mark in his first 20 career starts against the Orioles, Jon Lester picks up his first loss against them. The good news for the Red Sox, if such thing exists this year, is that they shouldn’t fall into last place as the Blue Jays were getting trounced by Tampa Bay, 12-1, late in the game. We return tomorrow for some afternoon baseball with a 1:10 p.m. start time as Aaron Cook faces off against Randy Wolf. Only four more home games to play in this 2012 season.
Bottom 9th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Jim Johnson on to close the door for the Orioles, looking to set the Orioles mark for saves in a season with 46. He is currently tied with Randy Myers.
Salty runs the count full before flying out to right. Loney grounds out to Reynolds who slips to Johnson covering the bag for out number two. Nava keeps hop alive with a single to left. Mauro Gomez, pinch-hitting for Iglesias, strikes out to end the game.
Top 9th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Mark Melancon on in relief for Boston.
Machado first pitch swinging, grounds out to Pedroia. Chavez grounds out to Iglesias who makes it look so easy sometimes. Andino catches a 94-mile-per-hour heater on the back of his left shoulder. Andino gets lifted for a pinch runner and stares down Melancon as he cross the infield from first base. Omar Quintanilla on to run. McLouth takes the first pitch back through the box for a single. Hardy strikes out to end the inning.
Bottom 8th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Pedroia goes down, 5-3, to start the inning. Ross with a laser to center that looked as if it could find the gap, but Jones is just too quick and tracks it down. Lavarnway with a harmless fly to left to end the inning. The 3-4-5 hitters for Boston are 1-for-12 on the night.
Top 8th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Scott Atchison on for the Red Sox.
Lester’s final line: 7 IP, 8H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 112/70 pitches/strikes
Jones Ks and is retired for the first time this evening. Weiters is tamed this time around, flying to center on an 0-2 count. Ciriaco can’t barehand the slow roller from Reynolds who reaches with a single. Ford flies out to center to end the inning.
Bottom 7th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Nava to center field, Jones doesn’t move much to get to it for the first out. Iglesias with a nice piece of the first pitch he sees, lining it into left for a single. Buck Showalter out to the mound to pull Gonzalez who leaves after 101 pitches, 72 of which were for strikes.
The side-arming Darren O’Day on for Baltimore. Ciriaco posts one out to Jones in center after a series of foul balls. Podsednik grounds to Andino who flips to Hardy to end the inning.
Top 7th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Lester back on the mound to start the seventh. Pedroia moves to his left on a Chavez grounder and flips to Loney for the first out. Andino finds that hole between Loney and the first base line for a single. He is the third O’s batter to put it right down the line tonight. McLouth skies a foul pop up that Ciriaco snatches in front of the O’s dugout. Hardy goes down looking to end the inning. Lester at 112 pitches, tied for his sixth highest total of the year.
Bottom 6th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Lavarnway lines to third for out number one. Salty with a high fly ball that McLouth camps under for the second out. Loney follows up with a similar fly out to left field for Gonzalez’s second 1-2-3 for the night.
Top 6th, Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: Hardy nubs one back to Lester who runs it most of the way to first before handing off to Loney for the out. Jones picks up the free pass, Lester’s third. Weiters comes through again for the O’s, lining one into the left field corner, bringing home Jones for the second time tonight. Its the 21st multi-hit game for Weiters who has all three of the Orioles RBIs to this point. A wild pitch puts Weiters on third with one out. Reynolds punches home Weiters with an RBI single past the drawn in infield. Ciriaco with the play of the day so far, lunging to his left on a very hard hit grounder from Ford, eliminating Reynolds at second base. Machado grounds out to Iglesias who flips to Pedroia at second for the last out.
Lester ends the inning at 93 pitches, 59 for strikes…action in the bullpen may spell the end of his night.
Bottom 5th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 2: Nava swings at a bad ball in the dirt and is retired at first to make it official. Igesias grounds to Reynolds at first for the second out. Ciriaco grounds it back up the middle, Gonzalez slows it down but Andino can’t make the throw to retired Pedro at first. It goes down as a single, Ciriaco’s second hit of the night. Sox execute on a hit-and-run with Pods putting his hit into left field as Ciriaco advances to third on the play. Pedroia finds the hole on the left side of the infield to tie the game at two. Nice at-bat by Dustin, working the count full and then some before slapping one through, snapping an 0-for-18 drought. Ross grounds to short and the Hardy shuffles it to Andino for the last out.
Top 5th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Chavez grounds out to third and Ciriaco makes it interesting with this throw, but Loney gets it on the other side of the bag for the first out. Andino skips a fast grounder past the dive of Ciriaco for a single. McLouth sets up Iglesias with the perfect 6-3 double play to end the inning. It’s the second straight inning-ending DP for the Sox and their third of the night.
Bottom 4th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Ross down on strikes to start things off. Lavarnway puts some good wood on a ball, but it hangs up in right field for Chavez. Balls seem to be dying down tonight unless they are hit on a line. Salty draws the Sox first walk of the night, his 35th of the season. Loney ends the inning with a fly out to left.
Top 4th, Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: Hardy pops a leadoff single into left field. Jones gets a nice piece of the first pitch he sees and takes it out to the Monster for a double, giving the Orioles two runners in scoring position with no outs. Weiters finds that seem between Loney and the line, scoring both runners with an opposite field single. Reynolds hits one a mile-high and Loney gets to it in foul ground for the first out. Lester gives up his second free pass of the night, this time to Ford, bringing Randy Niemann to the hill for a visit. Lester handles the Machado comeback nicely, but puts a terrible throw to second base that thankfully Iglesias snatched up and turned the double play on. The Sox have had a 9-4-3 and 1-6-3 double so far.
Bottom 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 1: Daniel Nava pulls one perfectly down the right field line, along the right field wall where it got hung up out near the 380 mark, bringing Nava back to second for a ground-rule double. Iglesias with “how-not-to-bunt” showing on pitch number one, popping it perfectly to third base. Ciriaco brings home Nava with a wall-ball double that popped up off the top of the scoreboard. Podsednik makes sure that Machado is awake with a ripped liner to third for the second out. Pedroia stands Ciriaco with a groundout to second base. Sox draw first blood.
Top 3rd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Chavez chops one out towards second and Pedroia makes a nice place coming in on the ball. Robert Andino draws the first walk of the game. McLouth ropes one out towards the bullpen but Pods gets to it backtracking and relays it back in to double off Andino at first. Andino was long past second when Pods caught the ball just on the warning track. Solid stuff from Lester thus far.
Bottom 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Ryan Lavarnway grounds out to short. Jared Saltalamacchia with a liner to short for out number two. James Loney becomes Miguel Gonzalez’s first strikeout victim of the night, as the Sox go down 1-2-3.
Top 2nd, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Mark Reynolds becomes the second Oriole to leadoff with a strikeout. Baltimore is keeping Iglesias warm at short as Lew Ford grounds to short for the second out. Manny Machado makes it a 1-2-3 inning with a groundout to third.
Bottom 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: Pedro Ciriaco grounds to short for a leadoff out. Scott Podesdnik takes a 1-2 pitch into right field field for the first Red Sox hit of the game. Dustin Pedroia puts a charge into one, sending out to center field, but it hangs up and Jones gets to it before the warning track. Cody Ross hits an opposite field liner that Endy Chavez gets to in time to end the inning.
Top 1st, Orioles 0, Red Sox 0: A 90-mile-per-hour cutter from Jon Lester retires Nate McLouth for the first out of the ballgame. J.J. Hardy follows with an easy ground out to Jose Iglesias at short. Adam Jones goes opposite field on a Lester curve, finding space between Loney and the first base line, for a single. Matt Weiters knicks one off the top of his bat, slicing off a splinter as the ball rolls out to Iglesias for another easy out, ending the inning.
Pregame: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Craig Forde, back once again to drive the live blog ship as the Sox kick off their final homestand of the season with the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles. Jon Lester (9-12) looks to reach double digit wins for the fifth straight season and run his career record against Baltimore to 15-0. The Sox will look to trip up the Orioles who currently sit one game behind the Yankees in the A.L. East, but still maintain a 4 ½ game lead for one of the two Wildcard spots. We are down to the final eleven games of the season and the temps are down in the low 60s and sinking. So bundle up, sit back, follow along and comment away as we provide live updates throughout the evening.