BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles knocked starter Clay Buchholz out of the game in the sixth inning, put up six runs and hit their major league-leading 65th home run of the season.
That would be enough to win most games — except this one against the hard-hitting Boston Red Sox.
David Ortiz launched Boston’s comeback from a three-run deficit with a mighty home run, and the Red Sox banged out 14 hits in an 8-6 victory Monday night.
The Orioles staked starter Tommy Hunter to a 5-2 lead, but after Ortiz homered to begin a three-run sixth, Boston rode the momentum to the finish.
“Tommy was pitching real well there for a while, but that’s a lineup that’s swinging the bats well,” Baltimore manager Buck
Showalter said. “We gave up 14, 15 hits tonight. That didn’t bode well.”
No, it did not.
Boston took the lead with a two-run seventh and added an eighth-inning run to pretty much put the game away, even though the Orioles threatened in their half of the eighth.
“It’s a tough one to lose, but there’s always positive things we can take away from the game,” said Chris Davis, who homered in the fourth. “We swung the bats really well tonight, made some good plays defensively. Just couldn’t hang in there.”
The first-place Orioles swept a three-game series in Fenway Park earlier this month. It was the first meeting between the teams in Baltimore since the Orioles ruined Boston’s chances of reaching the playoffs with a walkoff win on the final day of the 2011 regular season.
Dustin Pedroia had two RBIs and Mike Aviles scored the go-ahead run in the seventh to help Boston secure its ninth win in 11 games. The Red Sox are tied with the New York Yankees in the AL East cellar but are at .500 (21-21) for the first time since April 30.
“It’s definitely not a goal, but it’s better than being under .500,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
The rally began when Ortiz hit a drive that was so obviously gone that right fielder Nick Markakis didn’t even turn around to see it become the 62nd homer in the 21-year history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street.
It was his 10th homer of the season, second in three games, and the timing could not have been better.
“We start the rally afterward,” Ortiz said. “Somebody got to start it, right?”
Adrian Gonzalez followed with a double and Daniel Nada hit a sacrifice fly before starter Hunter balked in a run to tie it.
“The last inning was very frustrating,” Hunter said. “I left the ball up to Ortiz. He pimped the (stuffing) out of the ball.”
The Red Sox went up 7-5 in the seventh against Kevin Gregg (2-2). Aviles hit a one-out single and took third on a double by Pedroia before Ortiz received an intentional walk to load the bases. Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly and Will Middlebrooks added an RBI single, one of his three hits for the night.
Pedroia singled in a run in the eighth for a three-run lead.
In the bottom half, Matt Wieters snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI single off Rich Hill, whose run of eight straight hitless outings ended. But with runners at second and third and one out, Vicente Padilla retired Wilson Betemit on a short fly and struck out Nick Johnson. Padilla has stranded all 15 inherited runners this year.
Alfredo Aceves worked the ninth for his 10th save.
After Buchholz gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings, Andrew Miller (1-0) retired all five batters he faced to earn the win on his 27th birthday.
Boston used a run-scoring single by Aviles and Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to go up 2-0 in the third.
Baltimore answered with four runs in the bottom half despite hitting only one ball out of the infield. After Betemit singled to right, a walk and Robert Andino’s bunt single loaded the bases.
Buchholz then walked in a run, gave up an infield single and issued another bases-loaded walk. The final run came in when Adam Jones hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Davis hit his sixth home run, the first in three weeks, to make it 5-2.
Notes: Boston OF Cody Ross has a fractured bone in his left foot and could miss 6-8 weeks, GM Ben Cherington said. Ross is expected to be placed on the DL on Tuesday. … Orioles 2B Brian Roberts, who’s been sidelined since May 2011 with a concussion, said Monday he could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment within a few weeks. Roberts has been taking batting practice and fielding grounders, but said, “The biggest key is to start getting real at-bats in a real atmosphere.” … The pitching matchups for Tuesday night: Boston’s Felix Doubront (4-1) against Brian Matusz
(3-4). … Jones extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying a career high.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)