While the Boston Red Sox should be happy to see one red-hot club leave town, they'll now hit the road to face another team that has given them a difficult time.
The Baltimore Orioles hope to end a three-game losing streak and beat Boston for the sixth time in eight meetings Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
After dropping two of three in their rain-shortened series, the Red Sox (61-42) had their AL East lead shrink to one-half over surging Tampa Bay.
Boston, which has been alone atop the division since May 27, remained in first place for at least one more day when Thursday's finale was rained out. That contest has been rescheduled for Monday night.
The Red Sox have struggled at the plate, batting .225 while dropping five of eight. They could have a tough time getting back on track since they're hitting .194 against the Orioles.
Jacoby Ellsbury (5 for 30), Dustin Pedroia (4 for 22), Stephen Drew (2 for 17) and David Ortiz (2 for 16) haven't fared well versus Baltimore. Pedroia is also 1 for 19 over the past five games overall.
The Orioles (57-46), four games behind the Red Sox, hope to avoid their fourth straight loss after dropping the final three in Kansas City.
"We've been gone 11 days and everybody is looking forward to getting back home," manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter's club appears to have a decent shot to bounce back in the opener of a nine-game homestand with Chris Tillman (12-3, 3.84 ERA) on the mound.
The right-hander, who looks to become the first Oriole to win 13 games since Erik Bedard in 2007, has limited opponents to three runs or fewer in eight of nine starts. He gave up two runs over eight-plus innings in a 4-2 win at Texas on Sunday."Chris does things the right way," Showalter said. "Usually there's good karma when he pitches."
That has been the case when Tillman has faced the Red Sox. He's 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts against them after allowing three hits over six-plus innings in a 2-0 win June 14 to help the Orioles take three of four at Camden Yards.
Boston counters with John Lackey (7-7, 2.95), who had his start pushed back due to Thursday's rainout."Keeping four of the five guys on their normal turn, despite John and Ryan (Dempster) getting an extra day, and just felt like (Jon) Lester and (Felix) Doubront in (their) slots, I felt like it was right," manager John Farrell said.
Lackey gets the chance to improve his 12-4 record and 3.31 ERA in 20 career starts against the Orioles. He earned Boston's only win in last month's series in Baltimore, giving up two runs in seven innings of a 5-4 win June 15.
The right-hander has lost two of his last three starts overall, but posted a 3.54 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 20 1-3 innings while the offense failed to give him any support in those defeats.
Manny Machado is 14 for 32 (.438) while hitting safely in all seven meetings against Boston, but is 1 for 16 in his last four games overall.
Teammate Chris Davis has yet to homer in seven games following the All-Star break, but he's hit seven in his last 10 versus Boston. Davis is 6 for 28 (.214) with 13 strikeouts since the break.
Catcher Matt Wieters has five straight multi-hit games, going 11 for 21 during this hot stretch.
The Orioles have won eight of 10 at home against the Red Sox.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||2||.000||0||0||0||0||1||.000||.000||.000|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 19, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|July 13, 2013||Andrew Bailey||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
|July 14, 2013||Nolan Reimold||60-Day DL||Nerve inflammation in cervical spine|
|June 20, 2013||Steve Pearce||15-Day DL||Left wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2013||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 06, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Now that the Boston Red Sox have lost their grip on first place in the AL East after an enjoyable two-month run, they have two things to worry about: chasing Tampa Bay and fending off the pesky Baltimore Orioles .
Chris Tillman pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Adam Jones homered twice and the Orioles defeated the Boston 6-0 Friday night to end a three-game skid.
The loss dropped the Red Sox a half-game behind the Rays, who beat the Yankees 10-6. Boston, which has dropped six of nine, had been alone atop the division since May 27.
"It's not the end of the ... world," right fielder Shane Victorino said.
"We have a lot of talented guys in here," losing pitcher John Lackey said. "A lot of good track records. We'll keep fighting."
The best way for Boston to begin that battle is to find a way to beat the Orioles. The Red Sox are 2-6 against Baltimore, the only team in the division against whom they have a losing record.
With the win, the third-place Orioles closed within three games of Boston.
Tillman (13-3) tied a career high with eight strikeouts in becoming the Orioles' first 13-game winner since Erik Bedard in 2007.
"For the team, it's special," Tillman said. "I think it's a team achievement, It's not me. It wouldn't have happened if we weren't swinging the bats the way we are; it wouldn't have happened if we weren't playing defense the way we are. It goes to show where this team is now opposed to in the past. I think all the pieces are starting to come into place."
In his past three starts against Boston, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA.
"He's going out there and doing it," Jones said. "That's what we ask of him. He's got the talent. He's got the stuff."
Jones hit a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fifth to help Baltimore bounce back from three successive losses in Kansas City. It was the third multihomer game of his career.
Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy also homered for the Orioles, who tied a season high with four long balls and increased their major-league leading total to 141.
"That's our style of play," Jones said. "Tonight, it worked."
Three of the homers came against Lackey (7-8), who yielded a season-high tying five runs in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander came in with a 12-4 lifetime record against the Orioles and had allowed two runs or fewer in six of seven starts since June 15.
Jacoby Ellsbury had half of Boston's four hits. The Red Sox got only one runner past second base in their eighth shutout loss of the year.
Tillman began the game with a wild streak, giving up a single and a pair of two-out walks to load the bases in the first inning before striking out Daniel Nava on three pitches.
In the bottom half, Nick Markakis singled and Jones hit an opposite-field drive to right that barely cleared the 25-foot scoreboard.
Nate McLouth led off the third with a triple off the glove of Ellsbury in center, and Machado followed with a single for a 3-0 lead.
Baltimore missed a chance to add another run when Hardy was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single by Brian Roberts . Victorino got his seventh assist on the play, high among Boston outfielders.
But Jones hit another opposite-field homer in the fifth, giving him 22 for the season. Machado chased Lackey with a drive to left field in the seventh.
Baltimore's first home game since the All-Star break drew a crowd of 39,063.
NOTES: Baltimore has homered in 11 straight games against Boston. ... Ryan Dempster takes the mound for the Red Sox on Saturday night, looking to improve his career 1.73 ERA against the Orioles. Scott Feldman will pitch for Baltimore. ... Dressing in the home clubhouse at Camden Yards for the first time, RHP Francisco Rodriguez said of the trade that sent him from Milwaukee last week: "I was surprised ... but I got excited because I knew I had a chance to be in the postseason." ... Nava has reached base in a career-high 21 straight games. ... Baltimore's Chris Davis singled in the first inning to snap a 0-for-10 skid, and Ellsbury ended a 0-for-12 drought with a fifth-inning double.