Red Sox 7, Orioles 5
BALTIMORE (AP)—The Boston Red Sox used their favorite weapon to salvage the final game of a disappointing road trip.
The Red Sox rank second in the AL in homers behind Texas. All seven Boston runs scored via the home run, and 14 of the last 15 runs the Red Sox have scored have come on homers.
“It was good to see the offense get going a little bit. It’s been a few days coming,” Boston manager Grady Little said. “We got some balls over the fence today and it was a pleasant sight for all of us.”
Boston had been outscored 29-8 during its four-game skid. Sunday’s victory enabled Boston to finish 2-4 on a swing through Texas and Baltimore.
The Red Sox have Monday off before facing Anaheim at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
“We’re glad to get out of here with a win,” Little said. “We’re going back to Fenway on a positive note. That’s what we’re focused on now.”
Tim Wakefield (9-5) allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings to become the ninth pitcher to win 100 games with the Red Sox. The knuckleballer struck out five and walked one in winning his third straight start.
“To accumulate 100 wins is a pretty special feat,” Wakefield said. “I’m very proud to wear the Red Sox uniform and to come away today with my 100th victory and the team victory.”
Byung-Hyun Kim, the fifth Boston pitcher, got six outs for his seventh save.
Luis Matos homered for the Orioles, whose eight-game winning streak at Camden Yards ended. Baltimore was seeking its first three-game home sweep of the Red Sox since September 1974.
“If anybody came in here before the series and asked if I’d be happy with two of three, I’d say yes,” Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. “We’re pleased. We played well; we just didn’t pitch well today.”
Rick Helling (6-8) yielded five runs and eight hits, half of them home runs, in six innings. The right-hander has given up 23 homers this year, 10 more than any other Baltimore starter.
“I didn’t have my curveball, and that’s my best pitch,” he said. “It’s tough to go out and pitch against a lineup like that without a breaking ball.”
The game was halted for 57 minutes in the seventh inning after a loud thunderclap, a thick bolt of lightning and a sudden rainshower sent the players scurrying for cover.
“I was ready to jump through the dugout, out the door and see you later,” Boston second baseman Todd Walker said. “It sounded like it was right above my head like someone was taking cannon shots at me.”
Two outs later, another rain delay ensued before the top of the eighth, this one for 62 minutes.
Mirabelli gave Boston a 2-0 lead in third, lining an inside fastball into left-field seats after Mueller hit a leadoff single. Matos hit his second homer in two games in the Orioles’ half.
Damon made it 3-1 with his 11th home run in the fifth, a drive that easily cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right. Ortiz and Nixon added solo shots in the sixth.
Baltimore chased Wakefield in the bottom half. Brian Roberts led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Conine. Jay Gibbons then singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Tony Batista.
Ortiz homered in the eighth off Kerry Ligtenberg to make it 6-3, and Mueller hit a shot to right against Ligtenberg in the ninth.
“They scored seven runs, all of them on home runs,” Hargrove said. “It’s tough to defend balls hit out of the ballpark. The Red Sox have the kind oflineup that can do that to you.”
The Red Sox activated RHP Jeff Suppan, who will make his Boston debut on Tuesday, and designated utilityman Lou Collier for assignment. … All four of Mirabelli’s homers have come against right-handers. … Helling has allowed at least one homer in 16 of his 22 starts. … Nine of Wakefield’s 100 winshave come against the Orioles.