Josh Beckett seeks to become baseball’s first five-game winner and help the Red Sox continue their mastery of the Orioles as the AL East rivals conclude their two-game series Thursday night at Camden Yards.
Boston (13-7) came to Baltimore after being outscored 17-6 by the Toronto Blue Jays in a two-game sweep at Fenway Park. The Red Sox rebounded, though, plating five runs in the final three innings Wednesday night to beat the Orioles 6-1.
“This was a good win,” said Boston starter Curt Schilling, who pitched seven innings to earn the win and allowed his only run on a home run to Miguel Tejada. “We lost two in a row, and when you are in a rotation like this something you do not expect to see are losing streaks. Everybody on this team can be a stopper.”
The victory was the 21st for Boston in 24 meetings with the Orioles (11-10) since Sept. 3, 2005. The Red Sox are 11-2 at Camden Yards over that span.
One of those wins was credited to Beckett (4-0, 2.55 ERA), who limited the Orioles to one run and two hits—including a Tejada homer—in seven innings of a 11-1 Red Sox victory May 15. That was Beckett’s only career outing against Baltimore.
The right-hander, who is tied with former Florida Marlins teammate Dontrelle Willis for the major league lead in wins, takes the mound looking to remain unbeaten both against the Orioles and on the season. He has already won four consecutive starts for the first time in his career, and is bidding to become the first Boston pitcher to win his first five starts of the season since Pedro Martinez in 2000.
Against the New York Yankees on Saturday, Beckett allowed two runs in each of the first two innings, but settled down to finish with 6 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and nine hits to earn the win in Boston’s 7-5 victory.
Baltimore starter Adam Loewen (2-0, 3.72) also stayed undefeated despite a shaky Saturday outing. The 23-year-old left-hander walked a career-high seven batters and left the game in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, but his bullpen bailed him out and he notched the win as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 5-2.
“Right now, it’s about trying to hand the ball off to the bullpen with the lead,” said Loewen, who yielded two runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. “I did that. I battled my butt off and gave us a chance to win.”
Loewen struggled against the Red Sox as a rookie in 2006, posting an 0-1 record and 9.00 ERA in three outings.
Tejada’s home run Wednesday night was the first since opening day for the shortstop, who had homered at least 21 times in each of the last eight seasons. It also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he is batting .436 (17-for-39).
The Orioles have lost three straight games after winning eight of nine, and are trying to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season.