If last season’s postseason appearance wasn’t enough to prove the Baltimore Orioles are back, things aren’t that different in 2013, as their push to take the lead in the AL East took another step in the right direction, beating the Boston Red Sox 6-3 to make it a third game out of four in the series between the two teams going their way.
If the Red Sox keep hoping that Jon Lester regains his April form, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Lester lost his second straight decision, and hasn’t finished with a win on his last six starts on the mound. By the time he went off after five innings Baltimore already had a 5-0 lead, hitting Lester nine times as he dropped to 6-4 in 2013.
They’ve always been able to swing the bats, there’s no question as far as coming in here and pitching against that lineup. They’ve always been a good offensive team.
Miguel Gonzalez was excellent until the top of the seventh, when Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run homer for the Red Sox, putting the game at 5-3 and some doubts in the minds of the Orioles. But Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson did a good job in settling down and cooling off the Red Sox bats, getting only one more hit in the remaining two and a bit innings.
I know I hadn’t had a lot of success. If you give him both sides of the plate and try to hit all those pitches you make it tough on yourself. I was able to get ahead of him and get a good pitch to drive.
For Baltimore, it was a big hitting day for Chris Davis, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning, making it 23 this season, leading the Major leagues, and getting another RBI in the fifth with a double that drove Manny Machado (also with two hits) home.
It was a big day for Nick Markakis as well, getting four hits on his five visits to the plate, crossing home plate three times during the game, including in the 7th inning run off a J.J. Hardy hit that put the game to bed and killed any kind of momentum the Red Sox were hoping to carry into the final couple of innings.
It was Davis’ 100th career home run and seventh in the last 10 games against Boston, and Baltimore have now won 14 of their last 19 against the Red Sox, including five of seven this season. They’re only 1.5 games behind them in the AL East, with the Yankees and the Rays not too far away. The Orioles outscored Boston 17-12 in the series and had 14 hits, seven for extra bases, in the finale.
The only players with a little bit of something to smile about on the Red Sox was Jose Iglesias, extending his hit streak to 17 games (1-of-4 on the day), the 6th-longest by a rookie in Red Sox history. One more game and hit he’ll tie Jacoby Elsbury (from 2008) and Tom Oliver (from 1930).