07/01/09 8:32 PM ET
Sox give O's a dose of their own medicine
Boston ties game in ninth, wins it in 11th on Lugo's single
By Jeff Seidel / Special to MLB.com
Baltimore held a four-run lead heading into the ninth as Boston had gotten just two baserunners since the third. But Kevin Youkilis belted a two-run homer, and Rocco Baldelli added a two-out, two-run pinch-hit single to tie the game at 5 in the ninth. Julio Lugo then came through with the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 11th to give the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Orioles before 29,391 at Camden Yards.
This came just one day after Baltimore (35-43) scored 10 straight runs to rally for an 11-10 victory in the second game of the series. The Red Sox appeared to have that one locked up -- just like the Orioles appeared to have Wednesday's game locked up.
"We did some good things," said Boston manager Terry Francona. "It was not a real pretty day up until the end, until the ninth and, all of a sudden, we started really playing the game. We used our whole team, and everybody chipped in and helped us win."
The Orioles got to Red Sox starter Josh Beckett early, as the right-hander gave up a pair of solo homers and Nick Markakis' two-run double en route to a 5-1 lead for Baltimore in the fourth.
But something interesting happened after Ty Wigginton's leadoff homer in that inning -- the Red Sox (48-30) completely shut down the Orioles.
Beckett, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramirez (5-2) and Jonathan Papelbon combined to retire the final 24 Baltimore batters. Not another Oriole reached base after that homer, and it gave the Red Sox time to come back. Beckett got through seven innings, and his ability to keep the game close and save a tired bullpen proved crucial.
"To his credit, he doesn't just buckle under," Francona said. "But he gives us a few scoreless himself, and then our bullpen was as good as you can be. On the road, in extra innings, somebody makes a mistake, you lose, and nobody made a mistake."
Beckett said he left too many pitches out over the plate early, and the Orioles took advantage of that. But he wanted to eat some innings.
"It was nice to give the team seven innings," Beckett said. "That was a good character win for us. I definitely knew that. ... Last night, we used a lot of our bullpen."
The pitchers needed to quiet the O's offense, because Baltimore rookie right-hander Brad Bergesen shut Boston down. He gave up just one run on four hits in eight impressive innings.
But the Red Sox jumped on Orioles setup man Jim Johnson in the ninth. Dustin Pedroia walked to start the inning, and Youkilis followed with his two-run homer. Closer George Sherrill relieved Johnson and struck out Jason Bay (0-for-5, all strikeouts) and then David Ortiz to put Baltimore on the cusp of another victory.
But Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center, and Sherrill then suddenly couldn't find the plate. He walked Jeff Bailey and Jason Varitek to load the bases. Baldelli then singled to center on a 1-1 pitch, scoring two and tying the game.
"I got a fastball, and it got in on me a little bit and I just tried to stay inside it," Baldelli said. "We always think we can put together a nice inning and score some runs."
The Sox did it again in the 11th against Danys Baez (4-2). Ellsbury's leadoff double down the left-field line put quick pressure on Baez. Bailey moved Ellsbury to third when he flied out to right. Lugo then singled to left to break the tie.
"You just want to drive the run in somehow, with a fly ball or a hit," Lugo said. "You just want to come through. They've got to get 27 outs; we proved that. We've got a good group, guys that work hard."
Papelbon then closed the door for his 20th save, one that set a team record for all-time saves. He passed Bob Stanley and now has 133 for his brief career.
But Francona and several players said this was a day for everyone -- a day when the starters, reserves and anyone who could help did. The timing of it couldn't have been better after the tough loss on Tuesday.
They paid the Orioles back in a very big way.
"You can't look at one thing; we had a lot of contributions today," Varitek said. "That was big after what happened last night. It was big, because they had that one today, and we found a way."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.