Baltimore (56-82) at Boston (80-58)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 39° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Wed Sep 9, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A return home and a matchup with the Baltimore Orioles was enough to get the Boston Red Sox back on a winning path, but the AL wild-card leaders won’t know what to expect Wednesday.

That’s because they’ll have Paul Byrd(notes) on the mound for his third start of the year as they try to complete a two-game sweep of the Orioles at Fenway Park.

After losing three of four in a frustrating series st Chicago over the long weekend, it didn’t take Boston long to reignite its offense at home. The Red Sox (80-58) scored eight times on five home runs in the first three innings of Tuesday’s 10-0 win over the Orioles.

Reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia(notes) had two of those long balls, ending a string of eight straight games without an RBI with the first multi-homer game of his career.

The club improved to 46-21 this season and 15-7 since the All-Star break at Fenway, where its batters have hit .299 and averaged 6.5 runs in the second half. On the road over that span, Boston is batting .244 and averaging 4.3 runs while going 11-17. The Red Sox began an eight-game homestand Tuesday.

“It’s good to be home,” Pedroia told the team’s official Web site. “After the end of that road trip, we wanted to get home and play well.”

The Red Sox may need a bunch of runs to support Byrd, the 38-year-old journeyman who came out of retirement last month. Byrd (1-1, 7.56 ERA) was sharp in his first start, allowing three hits in six innings of a 7-0 home win over Toronto on Aug. 30, but he was hit hard at Chicago on Friday, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 12-2 defeat.

“Quite a difference, huh? It is tough,” Byrd said.

“I don’t want to put this team in that situation,” he added. “I want us to be in the game when I’m on the mound. This is totally unacceptable for me. I shoulder the blame, I dropped the ball here.”

Boston may be feeling the pressure one day after they gave up ground to Texas in the wild-card race despite blowing out Baltimore. The Rangers swept a doubleheader at Cleveland to move within two games of the Red Sox.

Manager Terry Francona’s team can prevent the margin from narrowing Wednesday if it continues its recent dominance in this rivalry. The Orioles are 2-12 against Boston this year overall, and 7-28 at Fenway since the start of 2006.

Now 4-21 in AL East road games, Baltimore (56-82) will send Jason Berken(notes) to the mound as the rookie right-hander tries to win his third straight decision after losing 11 of his first 12.

Berken (4-11, 6.07) is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his last three starts, but he’s 0-2 with a 14.21 ERA against the Red Sox. J.D. Drew(notes) has gone 3 for 4 with a double, a triple and a home run against Berken, who didn’t make it out of the second inning of an 18-10 loss to Boston on Aug. 2.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Berken Phi vs. P. Byrd Bos
6-12 Record 1-3
6.54 ERA 5.82
66 K 11
44 BB 11
1.74 WHIP 1.71


Wednesday, Sep 9