BOSTON (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles are enjoying their recent wins — and the way they’re shaking up the playoff race.
The Orioles opened a day-night doubleheader with a 6-5 win over the reeling Red Sox on Monday, winning at Fenway Park for the first time this season and tightening the AL wild-card chase.
“These are some pressure games. I want to see those guys in those situations. Hopefully down the road they’ll be pitching in games that mean a little bit more for us,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “These games are just as important to us as they are to Boston.”
The Orioles have won five of six and are doing it against teams that are scrapping for playoff spots. Baltimore took two of three from both Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Angels before coming to Boston for a makeup game Monday afternoon, followed by a night game.
It was Baltimore’s 63rd win of the season, ensuring the Orioles can’t finish with 100 losses.
“It’s an interesting stretch that we’ve had,” said Jeremy Guthrie, who finally got his first win at Fenway. “We’re playing
teams that are trying to win (playoff spots) and giving us everything they have. To be able to compete against them and play well is a compliment to our team.”
Guthrie (9-17) was 0-3 at Fenway and winless in his eight starts at the hallowed ballpark, but got a lot of offensive support from his teammates, who took advantage of some mistakes by Boston, which lost for the 12th time in 15 games.
Boston, which lost three of four games against Tampa Bay this past weekend, saw its edge over the idle Rays sliced again to 1 1/2 games.
The Red Sox have six games remaining against Baltimore and three in New York against the Yankees. The Rays have 10 to play.
Robert Andino hit a two-run homer and Nolan Reimold followed with his 12th, putting the Orioles ahead 5-1 in the fourth. J.J. Hardy led off the fifth with his career-high 28th home run.
Baltimore had lost its first five at Fenway this year.
“It’s really nice. Probably one of my favorite days as a baseball player,” said Guthrie, who pitched into the seventh
inning. “I’m happy we were able to win this game. We did a lot of things right. I didn’t do too many of them, but the guys swung the bats well. We made some big double plays and the bullpen just locked it down for us.”
Marco Scutaro went 3 for 3 and scored twice for Boston. Darnell McDonald hit a solo homer for the Red Sox.
Guthrie was pulled after McDonald’s leadoff single in the seventh. He allowed four runs and 10 hits.
Jim Johnson, the sixth Orioles pitcher, worked the ninth for his seventh save.
Leading 2-1 in the fourth, Baltimore roughed up Kyle Weiland (0-3) when Andino and Reimold hit consecutive homers into the Green Monster seats.
The Red Sox trailed 6-2 in the fifth before they mounted a comeback.
Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double and Dustin Pedroia followed with a triple off the center-field wall, cutting it to 6-4 against Guthrie. TV replays appeared to show that Boston lost a run when David Ortiz’s line drive down the right-field line was ruled foul by first-base umpire Mike Estabrook. The ball seemed to carom fair off the lower part of a short wall near the Pesky Pole.
After the umpires huddled in the middle of the diamond, the call was upheld. Manager Terry Francona argued along with Ortiz and first base coach Ron Johnson. Ortiz then flied to the track in center, pounding his helmet to the ground in frustration.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the third when McDonald, inserted into the lineup when left fielder Carl Crawford was scratched with a stiff neck, lost Reimold’s fly ball in the sun. The ball ticked off his glove for a single, and McDonald then dropped Josh Bell’s for a two-base error before Matt Angle hit a two-run double over his leaping try against the wall.
McDonald, who came up to spattering of boos leading off in the bottom of the inning, homered into the Monster seats.
Weiland, making his fourth career start and his third against the Orioles, lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and five hits.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)