Orioles - 100 300 000 - 4 5 1Through six innings, the Red Sox had only three baserunners, all of whom failed to reach second. In the final three innings, however, 11 runners reached base, and five of them scored, and the Red Sox walked off with a win and a sweep of the Orioles.
Red Sox - 000 000 221 - 5 9 1
In the ninth, with the game tied 4-4, Alex Cora lined a single to right-center (his third hit of the afternoon). Coco Crisp dropped a squib bunt down the first base line. The ball rolled maybe 15 feet and had just spun over the foul line when it hit a little rock and hopped back into fair territory. Pitcher Jim Miller -- who made his major league debut last night -- grabbed it but his throw was low and late to first. Two on, no outs.
Jacoby Ellsbury (who robbed Aubrey Huff of a home run in the fifth with a leaping catch over the visitors' bullpen wall) also dropped down a bunt. It was directly in front of the plate. Miller got to it quickly, turned and fired to third. His throw was very wild, well to the left of Huff's glove. Indeed, the third base umpire had to duck back out of the way. The ball sailed into left field and Cora scored easily.
Boston got on the board when Dustin Pedroia homered down the left field line with one out in the sixth. Then, with two gone, Jason Bay was hit by a pitch in the foot, Jason Varitek walked on four pitches, Cora bunted for a hit, and Crisp walked. Baltimore led 4-2.
In the seventh, Jed Lowrie was called out on a short check swing. David Ortiz walked and Pedroia doubled into the left field corner (his third hit of the day!). Kotsay then banged a 2-1 pitch that was slicing to left-center. Adam Jones chased it, but seemed afraid of hitting the wall and pulled up short. The ball hit low on the wall, Jones banged into the wall anyway and fell down. It was a game-tying triple for Kotsay.
Cora also made a huge play in the top of the eighth. Baltimore led 4-2 and Huff had singled and stolen second base with no outs. Oscar Salazar hit a grounder to Cora's left and Huff took off for third. In one smooth motion, Cora gloved the ball and whirled and fired to third. Lowrie slapped the tag down on Huff for the out on a very close play. Justin Masterson then got an inning-ending double play two pitches later.
The White Sox beat Cleveland this afternoon 4-2 to stay 4 GB the Red Sox in the WC. ... A Yankees win over the Rays tonight would bring Boston to within three games of first place in the East.
Lance Cormier (4.61, 95 ERA+) / Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.82, 161 ERA+)
Kirk is going with his bullpen for the entire game today. This is Cormier's 36th appearance of the year, but it's his first start:
Cormier has been stretched out to four innings once this season, on June 28 in relief against the Nationals, but hasn't pitched more than two innings since that outing. Trembley said on Tuesday night that he had no expectations for Cormier's longevity on Wednesday afternoon.Kotsay gets a start at 1B, Bay still hitting 6th. Oatmeal inside.
White Sox/Indians at 12
Yankees/Rays at 7
Twins/Blue Jays at 7