The Baltimore Orioles haven't swept the Boston Red Sox at home and on the road in the same season in over a half century, but continued success against their AL East rival can only help their playoff push.
The Orioles finish their three-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday night.
In May, Baltimore recorded its first three-game sweep at Fenway Park since 1994, and following a 5-3 win at home Wednesday, the Orioles can complete a sweep at home Thursday. They haven't recorded a sweep of the Red Sox at home and on the road since 1960.
Baltimore (64-53) rallied against Boston for the latest victory, scoring all five runs in the sixth after being held hitless the first five innings and falling behind 2-0. Red Sox starter Aaron Cook 's throwing error contributed to Baltimore's big inning, which was capped by Mark Reynolds ' two-run double.
The Orioles, who remain in possession of one of the AL's two wild-card spots, improved to 8-3 against the Red Sox in 2012.
Continuing that success could be key to ending Baltimore's postseason drought. The teams are scheduled to play six times over the final two weeks of September, but manager Buck Showalter isn't looking ahead."There's so much baseball to be played and so many (teams) involved in this that I think it's counterproductive to dwell on it because things can change so quickly in a week's time," Showalter said.
The Orioles, who have won three straight and nine of 11, will try to keep things going against Clay Buchholz (10-3, 4.24 ERA).
Buchholz is looking to continue a dominating stretch of his own. He is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA over his last 11 starts and a 1.15 ERA over his last five outings while going 2-0.
The right-hander pitched a two-hitter in a 3-2 win over Cleveland last Friday. Only one of the runs - a solo homer in the first - was earned.
"That's the best I've seen a guy against us, and we've seen some pretty good pitching this year," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We couldn't do anything. He was way too good mixing his pitches."
Buchholz is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts against the Orioles in 2012, but threw a four-hitter in a 7-0 win in June. He had allowed 10 runs in a combined nine innings over the previous two outings.
Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.40) will counter for Baltimore. He had his four-start winning streak snapped after allowing six runs and six hits, including three homers, in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Kansas City last Saturday.
The right-hander is making his first start against the Red Sox this season. He is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two previous appearances.
Carl Crawford , who drove in two runs Wednesday, is 7 for 14 with two triples and one double against Tillman. Jacoby Ellsbury , who has a 38-game hitting streak against Baltimore, is 1 for 3 against him.
The Red Sox (57-61) fell to 4-10 in August with Wednesday's loss, which was the sixth time in eight games they scored three or fewer runs.
The offense may not be getting better anytime soon. Boston announced before Wednesday's game that David Ortiz , who has been out since mid-July with an Achilles strain, will stop all activity for a few days.
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 11, 2012||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Broken right wrist - out for season|
|August 06, 2012||Vicente Padilla||15-Day DL||Strained right biceps|
|July 31, 2012||Ryan Sweeney||60-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|July 31, 2012||Josh Beckett||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|July 29, 2012||Daniel Nava||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|July 21, 2012||Mike Aviles||Day-to-Day||Turf toe|
|August 13, 2012||Troy Patton||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|August 02, 2012||Ryan Flaherty||15-Day DL||Bacterial infection|
|July 28, 2012||Jim Thome||15-Day DL||Herniated disc|
|July 16, 2012||Robert Andino||15-Day DL||Left shoulder subluxation|
|July 16, 2012||Robert Andino||15-Day DL||Left shoulder subluxation|
|July 14, 2012||Jason Hammel||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic surgery, right knee|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox, and Clay Buccholz in particular, put on a good show for three members of the team ownership committee who ventured to Camden Yards to get a firsthand look at their struggling ballclub.
Buchholz shook off a rocky start to earn his 11th win, Dustin Pedroia singled in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
Principal owner John Henry , chairman Thomas Werner and president and CEO Larry Lucchino were all in attendance following a rough stretch in which Boston lost six of eight to bring up questions surrounding the job security of first-year manager Bobby Valentine .
The trio visited the clubhouse before the game and showed up again afterward.
"They said they were bringing us luck," Valentine said. "After we started (behind) 2-0, I was looking for an early flight home."
After giving up three runs and six hits over the first two innings, Buchholz (11-3) kept the Orioles at bay while the Red Sox rebounded from a 3-1 deficit. The right-hander ended up allowing three runs, eight hits and three walks over eight innings. He struck out seven.
"He brought the competitive spirit to a new level tonight," Valentine said. "They were jumping on his early pitches, he got down early. But when he saw we had some resiliency in our offense, he shut the door. He shut it quick."
Buchholz was delighted to perform so well for the men who sign his paycheck.
"They are the ones that put the team together," he said. "It was good to see those guys here. It added motivation. They've got busy lives, so they could have been somewhere else. Instead, they were here showing us they were behind us and supporting us."
Alfredo Aceves worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save.
Adrian Gonzalez had two RBIs and Cody Ross chipped in with three hits for Boston. Serving as designated hitter for the first time this season, Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 4 to end his 38-game hitting streak against Baltimore.
Mark Reynolds homered and Adam Jones had two RBIs for the Orioles, now 8-4 against Boston this season. Reynolds has four homers in his last six games after going 20 straight without one.
Despite the loss, Baltimore finished 7-3 on a homestand against Seattle, Kansas City and the Red Sox.
"Our guys wanted to win all 10. That's the way we approached it," manager Buck Showalter said. "Tonight they took advantage of some of our pitching struggles."
The Red Sox took a 6-3 lead with a three-run sixth against Luis Ayala (4-4). With runners at the corners and two outs, Pedroia hit a short chopper toward third that a charging Manny Machado couldn't handle. Gonzalez and Ross followed with run-scoring singles.
Before the game, talk in the Boston clubhouse centered around Ellsbury, a fixture in the Boston outfield playing DH for the first time since July 18, 2011. Valentine said, "The last couple days we have been concerned about a leg situation. This is just being overcautious and aware of the situation."
Ellsbury, however, said, "My leg feels good. I played the last two nights on it."
Coming in, Orioles starter Chris Tillman had allowed 24 runs this season - 14 in the first inning. After striking out Ellsbury to begin the game, Tillman gave up a one-out double to Carl Crawford before retiring Pedroia and Gonzalez.
Baltimore went up 2-0 in the bottom half. Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy singled before Jones hit an opposite-field, two-run double inside the first base line.
Boston got a run in the second on a two-out RBI single by Scott Podsednik .
Reynolds homered on the first pitch in the Orioles' half with a drive to center. It was an uncharacteristic start for Buchholz, who didn't allow more than two runs in any of his previous five outings and had a 1.15 ERA over that span.
"Clay had a rough time early, then after that he threw a gem," Ross said.
The Red Sox pulled even in the fifth. Crawford singled, took third on a double by Pedroia and scored on a wild pitch. Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly to chase Tillman, who threw 110 pitches in 4 2-3 innings.
"You've got to tip your hat a little bit to Boston; they really made (Tillman) work for everything," Showalter said. "They had a lot of foul balls. He had a lot of counts in his favor but he couldn't finish hitters off."
NOTES: Boston received RHP Pedro Beato from the Mets as the player to be named in the trade Tuesday that sent C Kelly Shoppach to New York. Beato, a former first-round draft pick of the Orioles, will report to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Baltimore placed INF Wilson Betemit (wrist) on the 15-day DL and recalled Joe Mahoney from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Pedroia stretched his hitting streak to 11 games, three short of his season high. ... In 12 games against Boston this year, Reynolds is 13 for 30 (.433) with five homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs.