Beckett wins 18th, Red Sox beat Orioles 3-2
BALTIMORE (AP)—Jonathan Papelbon was one strike from securing another Boston win at Camden Yards, and many in the crowd of 39,234 stood and cheered.
That’s only one reason the Red Sox will miss playing at their favorite stadium besides Fenway Park. Not only do they receive plenty of support in Baltimore, they usually find a way to win, too.
“For me, I just go out there and try to execute pitches like I do in any other stadium. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t,” Boston ace Josh Beckett said.
Beckett allowed two runs in seven innings to earn his 18th victory, and Coco Crisp singled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth to help Boston close out another successful season at Camden Yards on Sunday.
Mike Lowell drove in two runs and Dustin Pedroia had three hits for the Red Sox, who finished 6-3 in Baltimore this year and stayed 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Boston has had a winning record at Camden Yards every season since 1998, going 54-23 during that span.
Maybe it’s because so many fans come down from Boston to cheer for the Red Sox. More likely, it’s because the Red Sox are simply better.
Beckett (18-6) yielded seven hits, struck out eight—including Brian Roberts three times—and walked none. The right-hander is 4-1 lifetime against the Orioles, including 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts at Baltimore.
Asked if he was disappointed that he won’t be seeing the Orioles again this season, Beckett replied: “There are two ways you can look at it. You can look at it as you are due for a loss.”
Mora and Nick Markakis homered for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19. The defeat assures Baltimore (61-81) a 10th consecutive non-winning season.
Boston snapped a 2-all tie in the eighth against Chad Bradford (3-7). J.D. Drew hit a leadoff single and reached third with two outs before Crisp lined an RBI single to center. Crisp went 5-for-13 with five RBIs in the four-game series.
Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie gave up two runs and seven hits in five-plus innings before leaving with a strained muscle in his left rib cage. The rookie is 0-2 in his last eight starts and has received 14 no-decisions this year.
The injury almost certainly put an end to his breakthrough season.
“I’ll go light a candle tonight on the way home and expect a miracle,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said.
Earlier in the day, the Orioles placed left-hander Erik Bedard on the 60-day disabled list with the same injury, so Guthrie wasn’t hopeful of avoiding a similar fate.
“The experience that everyone else has gone through shows that the recovery does take two or three weeks to even eliminate pain, doing nothing,” Guthrie said. “If that were the case, then I would be done. But I remain optimistic, and will hope for a miracle.”
The Orioles have an off day Monday. Guthrie will be re-evaluated Tuesday before a decision is made.
Boston went up 2-0 in the third when Pedroia hit a two-out single, David Ortiz doubled and Lowell ended a 2-for-20 slump by grounding a two-run single to center.
Beckett struck out the side in the third and fired a third strike past Aubrey Huff leading off the fourth before Mora hit a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats, his 14th home run.
Markakis tied it by leading off the sixth with an opposite-field drive to left. It was his team-high 18th homer, the second in two games.
The Orioles got a runner to second base with one out in the seventh before Beckett closed his performance by retiring pinch-hitter Kevin Millar on a grounder and striking out Roberts.
“The Roberts at-bat in the seventh was a phenomenal at-bat, and it was even better because we got him out,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “(Beckett) had to be that good—there was no margin for error.”
Roberts didn’t deliver, but Crisp came through in the eighth. That goes a long way toward explaining why first-place Boston won the season series 12-6.
“The game came down to them getting the two-out RBI hit and we didn’t,” Trembley said.