“It says something about our team, the way the guys came back against one of the better pitchers in baseball,” Trembley said after Tuesday night’s 5-4 victory. “We had to work for it. We had to earn it. But I think everybody learned a little bit more about the Baltimore Orioles tonight. I’m real proud of our team. They just played tremendous.”
Luke Scott homered and had three of Baltimore’s 11 hits off Beckett, but the most notable performances came from starter Jeremy Guthrie and the bullpen. Guthrie blanked Boston after a shaky first inning, Jim Johnson worked out of an imposing jam in the seventh and George Sherrill got five straight outs to earn his 14th save.
It all added up to a satisfying win for a team picked by many to finish last in the AL East. Baltimore is 20-19 and just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox.
“It means a lot to me and I’m sure it means a lot to the team and our fans because there’s still that dilemma out there: Is this team going to snap or crack? They’re not,” Trembley insisted. “These guys will stick together. And that’s what they did tonight.”
Scott was mired in a 7-for-55 skid before going 3-for-3 against Beckett, who came in 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA in four career starts at Camden Yards. Scott’s three-run homer in the third inning put Baltimore ahead 5-3, and the advantage stood up.
“Well, he certainly was due,” Trembley said of Scott.
Guthrie (2-3) allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander, who had a season-high seven strikeouts, kept the Red Sox scoreless following a three-run first.
After Guthrie yielded successive singles to start the seventh, Jamie Walker walked David Ortiz to load the bases. Jim Johnson then got Manny Ramirez to bounce into a 1-2-3 double play to conclude a 10-pitch at-bat, and Mike Lowell followed with a fly ball to left.
“He worked a pitching miracle,” an appreciative Guthrie said of Johnson.
Alex Cora hit an RBI single in the eighth before Sherrill finished. Ortiz was ejected in the ninth after arguing with umpire Laz Diaz, who called him out on a check swing with the count full.
Beckett (4-3) gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings. The 11 hits was the most allowed by a Boston starter this season.
“The loss definitely goes in the right man’s hand tonight,” Beckett said. “It’s pretty simple. I just didn’t execute pitches tonight.”
The Red Sox were without manager Terry Francona, who will miss the two-game series following the death of his mother-in-law. He was replaced by bench coach Brad Mills, now 5-4 when subbing for Francona.
It was the fourth loss in five games for the Red Sox, who stranded 10 and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“We’re still having some good at-bats. Any time you have the bases loaded and nobody out and you don’t score, you kind of get a little bit frustrated,” Mills said. “At the same time, we are still having some good at-bats.”
“Anytime you lose two outfielders during a ball game, it’s going to be tough,” Mills said.
The Red Sox took advantage of two Baltimore errors to go up 3-0 in the first inning. After Ramirez hit an RBI single, Ortiz scored when Aubrey Huff botched Lowell’s grounder to third. Two batters later, Ramirez scored when first baseman Kevin Millar let a two-out grounder go through his legs.
But just as they did one night earlier in Minnesota, the Red Sox lost after opening with a three-run first.
The Orioles got a run back in the second on an RBI single by Jay Payton, then sent eight men to the plate in a four-run third. Millar singled in a run with two outs before Scott drove a 1-0 pitch far over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.
“It was a (terrible) pitch. Right down the middle,” Beckett said.
It was Scott’s second home run; the other came April 8. He finished 3-for-4, his first three-hit game since April 6.
Orioles 3B Melvin Mora was scratched when he was struck in the right shoulder by a grounder during warmups. … Boston fell to 27-10 against Baltimore since the start of the 2006 season. … The Red Sox are 1-8 on the road against AL East foes.