Baltimore (49-55) at Boston (64-41)

Fair Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 32° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue Jul 31, 2007
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Facing the Baltimore Orioles usually results in wins for the Boston Red Sox, but things might be different now given the way ace Erik Bedard is playing.

Bedard tries to keep his outstanding run going Tuesday when the Orioles face the AL East-leading Red Sox and their ace, Josh Beckett, in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Boston (64-41) has won four of five meetings with the Orioles this season, and is 24-4 against its AL East rivals since Sept. 3, 2005.

Baltimore, though, enters this series playing some of its best ball this season. The Orioles (49-55) took two of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend and despite having their six-game winning streak snapped with a 10-6 defeat in Sunday’s series finale, the Orioles are 11-5 under interim manager Dave Trembley since the All-Star break.

Sunday’s contest was close until Baltimore gave up five runs in the eighth.

“Everybody ought to feel proud of the way we played, and the fact this game was not a giveaway. We came back every time,” Trembley said.

Bedard (10-4, 3.05 ERA) has been a big part of Baltimore’s recent surge. The left-hander is 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a .149 opponent batting average over his last seven starts, striking out 63 batters in 47 2-3 innings during the run.

He struck out eight in a 6-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday, when he yielded one run and six hits in six innings.

“He’s pitching great now,” Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez said of Bedard. “He can throw his breaking ball anytime he wants to for strikes. When you can do that, you’re always going to have a quality start.”

This will be Bedard’s first start against the Red Sox this season. He is 3-4 lifetime with a 5.44 ERA in nine appearances - eight starts - versus Boston.

Extending Bedard’s winning streak promises to be a tough task with Beckett (13-4, 3.27) on the mound for Boston. Although the right-hander has alternated wins with losses over his last four outings, he has produced a quality start in each of them and received a total of just one run support in the two defeats.

On Wednesday, Beckett allowed one run and four hits in eight innings while striking out seven without a walk, but was outpitched by Fausto Carmona and saddled with a 1-0 loss on the road.

Beckett is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts versus Baltimore.

The Red Sox also had trouble producing runs Sunday, when they failed to score until the eighth inning en route to a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay. Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis hit back-to-back home runs to provide the only offense.

Boston has won eight of its last 10 and leads the Yankees by eight games atop the AL East after completing a 5-2 road trip.

“If we do that, we’re going to be fine,” Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell said. “I don’t think we can have any complaints.”

Ramirez has been particularly hot, batting .388 (26-for-67) with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 18 games since the All-Star break.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Bedard LAD vs. J. Beckett LAD
13-5 Record 20-7
3.16 ERA 3.27
221 K 194
57 BB 40
1.09 WHIP 1.14

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jul 31