Orioles - 000 002 000 - 2 5 0 Red Sox - 001 000 000 - 1 7 0Adrian Gonzalez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both singled to start the bottom of the seventh. With Boston trailing by one run, Bobby Valentine decided to have Darnell McDonald bunt. (Coming into tonight's game, the Red Sox were tied with the Angels with the most sacrifice hits in the American league, with 14.)
Bunt #15 moved the runners to second and third, but it also left the most important at-bat of the inning to Marlon Byrd, who began the night with a .610 OPS (65 OPS+). Byrd promptly struck out on four pitches, lunging outside at strike three. (It wasn't as if there were not other options. Both Ryan Sweeney and switch-hitter Daniel Nava ended up pinch-hitting in the ninth, so they were both available.) With two outs, Mike Aviles popped up an 0-2 pitch to first base.
The Red Sox then had men on first and second with one out in the eighth, but could not do anything. Will Middlebrooks, who had singled in the second and fourth innings, flied to center and Scott Podsednik grounded to first.
In the third inning, McDonald doubled, took third on Byrd's single, and scored on Aviles's line out to right.
Beckett ((8-5-2-0-5, 92) pitched a superb game, but he allowed three consecutive singles to start the sixth inning. The third hit - note that Buck Showalter did not bunt - tied the game at 1-1 and a fielder's choice gave Baltimore the lead. Wilson Betemit and Ryan Flaherty scored the Orioles runs. They were the only two Baltimore runners to advance beyond first base all night.
Aviles, SSChen, a rookie lefty, had a 2.45 ERA through his first seven starts. In two of his last three outings, however, he has been hit hard: 11 runs in 10 innings against the Nationals and Rays. Opponents are hitting .302/.380/.587/.968 over the three most-recent games.
Beckett has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts (2.20 ERA in 28.2 innings, with 20 strikeouts and an opponents' OPS of only .542).