Red Sox 7, Orioles 5, 1st Game
That was about the only disappointing aspect of an otherwise encouraging performance.
Arroyo pitched three shutout innings in his final tuneup before the playoffs, and Johnny Damon drove in three runs to lead Boston past the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
The Red Sox, who long ago clinched the AL wild-card slot, rested starters Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Kevin Millar. But Boston still generated enough offense to pull away early, scoring six runs in the second inning against rookie Daniel Cabrera before making an out.
Arroyo allowed one hit before being lifted after throwing 45 pitches and with Boston up 7-0. He has been tabbed by manager Terry Francona to start either Game 3 or 4 in Boston’s opening-round playoff series.
“I feel good. I’ve been throwing the ball good, I feel healthy, I feel strong and rested,” the right-hander said. “They’ve allowed me to have the ball every fifth day and not worry about being sent back to the bullpen. I’ve just gotten better and better as the year went on.”
Against the Orioles, Arroyo retired nine of 10 batters, the lone exception a double by Melvin Mora in the first inning.
“I thought Bronson was terrific,” Francona said. “We didn’t want him to let him stay out there past 40 or 50 pitches, and he was right smack in the middle. I know the competitiveness in him; he wanted to stay out there for a while, but this was the right thing to do.”
Even if it meant giving up an easy win.
“It’s hard getting pulled, especially when it’s 7-0,” Arroyo said. “But you take it like it’s a spring training game, that last day before you break camp—you hope for a quick one and leave on a good note.”
Terry Adams (6-4) replaced Arroyo and pitched two innings to earn his second win since joining the Red Sox in a July 24 trade with Toronto.
Keith Foulke, the sixth Boston pitcher, allowed a double and a single in the ninth, but struck out the side for his 32nd save.
Boston has won six of seven, including an 8-3 victory over Baltimore on Friday night. Assured of at least a split of the four-game series, the Red Sox will finish the season going unbeaten in 13 of their final 14 series since Aug. 16.
Javy Lopez, B.J. Surhoff and Miguel Tejada homered for the Orioles, who have dropped two straight after winning seven of eight. Baltimore fought back from a seven-run deficit to get the tying run on base in the ninth inning, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
“This team is running on a full tank of gas,” manager Lee Mazzilli said. “We just came up short.”
Boston sent 11 men to the plate in the second inning. Orlando Cabrera, Gabe Kapler and Pokey Reese hit RBI singles before another run scored on a wild pitch. Damon then singled in two runs for a 6-0 lead.
Daniel Cabrera (12-8) allowed six runs, five hits and three walks in 1 1-3 innings—his shortest start since making his debut on May 13.
“He was all over the place. He just had no rhythm,” Mazzilli said, acknowledging that the rookie might be tired after throwing 174 innings this season.
The Red Sox added an unearned run in the third against Erik Bedard, pitching for the first time since Sept. 8. After Tejada fumbled a grounder to short for an error, Damon drove in a run with a groundout.
Damon left for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He has a career-high 93 RBIs this season, including 91 from the leadoff spot—the fourth-highest total in major league history.
Lopez hit his 22nd homer leading off the fifth to make it 7-1, and Surhoff hit a two-run shot off Ramiro Mendoza in the seventh.
Tejada homered with a man on in the eighth, his 34th of the season.
Red Sox DH Ellis Burks became the 200th major leaguer to play in 2,000 games. … The game was the makeup of a rainout on July 27. … Boston improved to 41-17 since Aug. 1. … Tejada’s homer tied the Orioles’ season record for shortstops, set in 1991 by Cal Ripken.