The Red Sox (35-24) went 1-5 during the first six games of their road trip, getting swept in three games at Oakland and dropping two of three at AL-worst Seattle. They hit a paltry .169 with 14 total runs in that stretch.
Things have changed at Baltimore (26-29). Boston has scored 20 runs to win three consecutive games against the Orioles, capped off by Sunday’s 9-4 victory powered by 16 hits and homers by Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew.
“We’re going to click,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes we get cold. That’s part of the game.”
Ramirez, whose homer on Saturday made him the 24th player to reach 500, has gone 11-for-29 (.379) with three homers and 10 RBIs in the last seven games. He’ll likely be used as a designated hitter again after filling the role Sunday for Ortiz, who sprained his left wrist swinging at a pitch Saturday.
“It feels the same,” said Ortiz, who will be re-examined on Monday in Boston. “We’ll see what the doctors say. I got to get an MRI.”
The Red Sox are looking for their first four-game sweep of the Orioles since Sept. 20-23, 2002, also at Camden Yards, and they’ll look to Tim Wakefield (3-4, 4.70 ERA) to help them accomplish it.
The 41-year-old knuckleballer was outstanding at Seattle on Wednesday, but Boston could only manage two hits in the 1-0 loss. Wakefield allowed the only run of the game on a third-inning homer while holding the Mariners to five total hits and striking out eight in eight innings.
Wakefield is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his last four starts, although he’s received only eight total runs of support in that span. He’s also struggled at Baltimore recently, going 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in his last three starts there.
Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 3.64), who is looking for his first win since beating Boston 5-4 on May 13 at Camden Yards, has been receiving even worse support.
The right-hander has a 2.18 ERA over his last three starts, but has lost them all while getting only two runs of support.
Both of those runs came in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees, although the Orioles stranded nine runners on base. Guthrie allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.
“I thought about that for the last five days,” Guthrie told the Orioles’ official Web site. “You enjoy the opportunity to be in a scuffle, to be in a fight. Personally, I’m able to be in one of those - it seems like - every five days, where every pitch matters, where every at-bat is big. You enjoy that and that’s what makes this game fun. Unfortunately, for me, it’s not going the right way.”
Baltimore has dropped four straight games.