Even when the Red Sox have won on the road recently, it hasn’t come easy. Given their struggles away from Boston, they’re happy with any kind of victory.
One night after a 13-inning win in Baltimore, the Red Sox will look to win back-to-back road games for only the second time this month as they continue their four-game set with the Orioles on Saturday.
Before Friday, Boston (33-24) had lost nine of its previous 10 road games, starting its current 10-game trip with just one win in six contests on the West Coast. Even the win—a 5-3 victory over Seattle Monday—came when the Red Sox broke a 1-all tie with four runs in the eighth before giving two back in the ninth.
After four hours, 49 minutes and 11 consecutive scoreless innings Friday, the Red Sox finally won 5-2 in the 13th, taking advantage of three Orioles errors to score three runs.
“We’ll take them however we get them,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That was kind of a losable game. We had chances to lose that game and we didn’t.”
Boston, which has won just six of its last 20 road games, hasn’t notched consecutive road wins since its first two road games of May, when it won a pair in Detroit.
Lately, it’s been offensive struggles hampering the Red Sox away from Fenway Park. They had managed only two hits in a 1-0 loss to Seattle Wednesday, and after scoring twice in the first inning Friday, then didn’t plate another run until Mike Lowell’s go-ahead RBI single in the 13th.
“A good thing, because after we scored those two it took us about 4 1/2 hours to get another one,” Francona said.
They’ve scored only 19 runs and been shut out twice in seven games on their current trip, with Manny Ramirez among their struggling sluggers.
Ramirez, who has 499 career home runs, was 1-for-6 Friday, and is batting just .214 with one home run and 10 strikeouts in his last 11 games as he approaches the milestone. Kevin Youkilis’ problems have been even worse, but he did snap an 0-for-18 slump with a 13th-inning single.
Jon Lester (3-3, 3.55 ERA) will hope for better support as he takes the Camden Yards mound for the second time in his last four starts. In between, Lester pitched a no-hitter May 19 against Kansas City at Fenway Park.
The left-hander, who threw 130 pitches in the no-hitter, struggled Sunday at Oakland, losing after lasting just five innings and giving up four runs.
“All the positives we talked about before the season, it seemed I did the complete opposite,” Lester said. “All the things we’ve strived to better, and it seemed like I took a step back.”
Perhaps pitching against the Orioles (26-27) will help. Lester is 3-0 in four career starts against Baltimore, allowing just two runs in 13 innings in a pair of wins last September. He did not factor in the decision in Baltimore on May 14, allowing two runs in six innings.
Garrett Olson, meanwhile, has never beaten the Red Sox, going 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts. But Olson (4-1, 4.09) is coming off the best start of his career, scattering three hits and striking out seven in seven shutout innings of a 6-1 win over the New York Yankees on Monday.
Olson’s win helped the Orioles take two of three from the Yankees this week, but Baltimore has dropped seven of its last nine overall.
The last-place Orioles are the only team below .500 in the AL East.