For years the Baltimore Orioles served as personal punching bags for the Boston Red Sox.
Now, it appears those roles have been reversed.
A seventh consecutive series win against the slumping Red Sox will be the Orioles' goal Saturday night at Camden Yards.
Beating up on the Orioles was common while they struggled through 15 straight losing seasons, but few teams did it as well as the Red Sox, who won 55 of 72 over Baltimore from 2006-09.
The tide began to turn at the end of 2011, when Baltimore won four of the final five meetings, including a memorable season-ending victory to knock Boston out of playoff contention. That seemed to springboard the Orioles into 2012, when their run of futility ended with 93 wins and the franchise's first playoff appearance since 1997.
A big part of that success was a 13-5 record against the Red Sox. Baltimore (58-46) has continued that prosperity with six wins in eight meetings this year, including a 6-0 victory in Friday's series opener.
Chris Tillman pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and Adam Jones homered twice as the Orioles snapped a three-game skid overall and improved to 21-8 at home since dropping seven straight there in mid-May.
Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy also homered for the Orioles, raising their major league-leading total to 141."That's our style of play," Jones said. "Tonight, it worked."
Machado is batting .444 (16 for 36) with two home runs, five doubles and eight RBIs against the Red Sox this season.
The Red Sox dropped out of first place in the AL East for the first time since May 27 with their sixth loss in nine games."We've got a lot of guys that are really great hitters," losing pitcher John Lackey said. "They'll come through and we'll get it going."
Most surprising is how little offense Boston (61-43) has managed versus Baltimore. The Red Sox lead the majors with 519 runs, but only 22 have come against the team that ranks 27th in the majors in ERA. They are batting .187 against the Orioles this year, with Jacoby Ellsbury going 7 for 34, Dustin Pedroia 5 for 26 and David Ortiz 3 for 19.
Scott Feldman (2-1, 4.73 ERA) will try to help send Boston to a season high-tying third straight loss as he makes his fifth start for the Orioles.
The right-hander had his best outing with his new team in a 9-2 win at Kansas City on Monday. He allowed two runs and five singles over eight innings in his longest start since throwing a complete game for the Cubs on May 1.
Feldman beat the Red Sox with seven strong innings for Texas on July 23, 2012, in his most recent meeting.
He'll want to be especially careful with Mike Napoli , who is 11 for 23 with two homers in their matchups.
Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28) seeks his first win in five starts for Boston. The right-hander has no record and a 4.87 ERA in his last four outings, walking 10 and striking out 14 over 20 1-3 innings during that stretch. He allowed five runs - three earned - and four walks in 5 1-3 innings Sunday against the Yankees in an 8-7 win in 11.
Though he is 1-2 with a 4.64 ERA in six road starts, Dempster was very good in a 2-0 loss at Baltimore on June 14. He worked around five walks, giving up two runs and five hits over 7 2-3 innings.
Dempster hasn't had much trouble with the Orioles, going 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts. He's been particularly tough on Hardy, holding him to two hits in 30 at-bats (.067).
|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) -- On a night when Stephen Drew used his bat to hit two homers and drive in five runs, David Ortiz took his best swings at a couple of dugout phones.
Drew revived the quiet Boston offense with a stellar performance, and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 Saturday night in a game that featured a memorable and destructive tirade by Ortiz.
Starting for the sixth time since coming off the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Drew hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning and connected with a man on in the sixth. It was his second career two-homer game, and the five RBIs tied a career high. He came in batting .223 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 71 games.
"The past couple of games, I've felt good at the plate but had no luck," Drew said. "It's just good to turn around and have a good outcome. It was also a good win. That's what we really needed."
Boston had lost six of its previous nine to fall out of first place in the AL East for the first time in 60 days.
After Shane Victorino homered in the seventh to make it 7-2, Ortiz took three balls from Jairo Acencio before umpire Tim Timmons called a strike on a high fastball. Ortiz was furious, and he fully vented that frustration after taking another strike and then striking out with a futile swing.
He yelled at Timmons and was ejected. Ortiz then destroyed the covers of two dugout phones with his bat before charging onto the field, where he was restrained by manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo .
Ortiz finally relented, but as a final gesture he threw an elbow pad in Timmons' direction. Teammate Dustin Pedroia , who covered up to avoid being hit by the spray of shattered plastic, finally got the enraged Ortiz under control.
"I got 17 years in the league and I don't think I deserve to be disrespected like that," Ortiz said. "You want to get respect from the players, you respect the players. That was horrible. Both of the pitches, not one.
"The funny thing is he wanted to act like it was the right call," Ortiz added. "I don't play that. I hit. You're not going to take my at-bats away."
The antics of "Big Papi" didn't detract from a much-needed victory against a strong division rival.
"We swung the bats great," Pedroia said. "It's a good win. We have to build on that. Guys get frustrated. It's part of the game. I just wanted to make sure David didn't get too bad where he gets suspended or any of that. ... He's the biggest part of our lineup. We can't afford to lose David for even one game."
Ryan Dempster (6-8) gave up two runs in 5 1-3 innings to earn his first win in five starts since June 30. His previous four starts were no-decisions.
Both of Drew's homers came off Scott Feldman (2-2), making his fifth appearance since coming to the Orioles in a trade with the Chicago Cubs . Feldman allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.
Baltimore's Chris Davis went 1 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts, the 21st consecutive game in which the major league home run leader has struck out. He has fanned eight times in his last three games and hasn't homered since hitting No. 37 on July 14.
Boston went up 1-0 in the third when Drew singled and came home on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury . That provided a note of optimism for a slumping team that had produced only one run in its previous two games and came in with a 42-9 record when scoring first.
Feldman got two outs in the fourth before Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled. Drew followed with his first home run since June 4.
"It really just came down to that fourth inning," Feldman said. "Gave up a couple two-out knocks and then made a bad pitch to Drew and he hit it over the fence."
Baltimore closed to 4-1 in the fifth on an RBI single by Brian Roberts , but another homer by Drew provided the Red Sox with a five-run cushion in the sixth. The drive hit the top of the wall in right field, and although umpires initially ruled the ball in play, they adjourned for a replay and ultimately called it a home run.
After the Orioles got a sixth-inning run on a grounder by Matt Wieters , Victorino homered on Asencio's first pitch of the night to make it 7-2 in the seventh.
J.J. Hardy singled in a run in the eighth for Baltimore.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed by rain for 27 minutes. ... Boston improved to 3-6 against Baltimore this season. The Red Sox lost nine of their previous 11 games at Camden Yards. ... Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel seeks his first win since May 27 in the finale of the three-game series Sunday. Jon Lester , 14-2 lifetime against Baltimore, starts for Boston. ... Baltimore 2B Ryan Flaherty turned 27 Saturday. He hasn't had an at-bat since the All-Star break. ... Hardy went 1 for 2 against Dempster and is 3 for 32 lifetime against the right-hander.