After having failed with runners in scoring positions for two games, the bats finally took advantage of some Orioles mental errors last night. In the second inning, Pokey Reese, with runners at first and second and two outs, grounded a ball to Miguel Tejada's right side. Tejada looked towards third base -- in the hopes of forcing Varitek and ending the inning -- but Melvin Mora was nowhere near the bag. Tejada then whipped a throw to first, but Reese beat it out for a single that loaded the bases.
Tejada got a lot of blame for not going to first base immediately, but starter Kurt Ainsworth also failed over five batters (and 22 pitches) to notch that third out. Damon singled home two runs, Mueller singled home two more, Ortiz walked, Ramirez doubled in two runs when centerfielder Luis Matos lost his deep fly ball in the twilight, and Millar singled in the 7th run of the inning.
Derek Lowe pitched fine with the big lead. He faltered in the bottom of the second, but that may have been due to the 30-minute rally his teammates had. Lowe hit Palmeiro to start the inning and got out of a bases loaded jam when Millar made a nice diving stop and fed Lowe at first. ... Lowe allowed single runs in the 3rd and 6th. He was saved from further damage when Damon robbed David Segui of what would have been a 3-run home run. If Damon didn't reach over the left-center field fence and snag that ball, Baltimore would have closed the gap to 7-5 with only one out in the 6th. ... Lowe allowed only three fly ball outs -- and they all came in his last inning of work.
Bobby Jones took over in the 7th and surrendered a home run to Larry Bigbie on his first pitch. After that, Jones threw two innings and allowed only a walk and a single. Ramiro Mendoza pitched the 9th. He gave up a bouncing single to right to Jose Bautista (his first ML at-bat), struck out Jack Cust and got Luis Lopez to ground into a game-ending double play.
I don't understand why Francona is not having Ramirez bat third. And he's not doing a very good idea of explaining it. Is this only going to happen when Nomar is playing? There are various quotes from Manny saying he likes cleanup, but that he also doesn't care where he hits. One quote had him saying he'd like to hit 6th after Millar, so he'd see a lot of fastballs. I didn't understand that one.
StartersThe Courant reports that Trot Nixon could start some baseball activities in the next few days. Terry Francona said Nixon "jogged for 10 minutes and did some pounding and didn't feel any pain." ... Byung-Hyun Kim threw 30 pitches off the mound Wednesday and could start a minor league rehab assignment the middle of next week.
IP H R ER BB K BF PIT
Pedro 6 7 3 2 1 5 26 93
Schilling 6 6 1 1 1 7 24 109
Lowe 6 7 2 2 2 3 26 95
18 20 6 5 4 15 2.50 ERA
Tim Wakefield/Matt Riley at 7:05 pm.