BOSTON -- The Baltimore Orioles, fighting to stay alive in the American League wild-card chase, pulled out a special victory at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
Chris Davis tied the game with his club-record 51st home run in the sixth inning, and the Orioles then struck for a run off dominant closer Koji Uehara in the ninth to pull out a 3-2 win.
"We're just going out, playing for the next nine innings, trying to do everything we can to get the win," Davis said. "We know, obviously, what lies ahead of us and what we have to do. I think the biggest focus for us is just on the next nine innings."
The Orioles, a surprise playoff team last season, are now two games behind both the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, who are tied for the two wild-card spots. Baltimore is 1 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians, who rallied for a win over the Kansas City Royals, another team in the wild-card picture.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter says he doesn't pay attention to the playoff race, just to what his team is doing. Ask him about the postseason picture, and he says, "It is (complex) for everybody else, but it's not for simple-minded people like myself and our team who say, 'We've got a game tonight, let's win and see where it takes us.' I don't even know who won or lost tonight."
The loss kept the Red Sox from securing a playoff spot. They needed a win and a Cleveland loss to clinch their first playoff berth since 2009. Boston's magic number for clinching the American League East for the first time since 2007 dropped to three with Tampa Bay's defeat.
Uehara (4-1) had retired 37 straight batters when he entered to start the ninth inning. He was greeted by a long triple from Danny Valencia. Matt Wieters' sacrifice fly gave the Orioles the lead (and ended Uehara's 30 1/3 scoreless-inning streak).
Jim Johnson pitched the bottom of the inning for his 46th save.
"It's huge. Every win at this point's important, and we need to keep it going," said Valencia, a journeyman recalled from the minors on four occasions this season.
Asked if he knew of Uehara's streak, Valencia said, "I wasn't aware of it, but I'm not surprised by it. He's got great stuff, he's a great pitcher."
The comeback allowed the Orioles, a team ready to shatter the all-time record for fewest errors in a season, to win on a night they made a season-high three errors (two by third baseman Manny Machado) and when starter Scott Feldman walked a career-high six batters in five innings.
The importance of the win almost overshadowed the 51st homer for Davis, who broke Brady Anderson's 1996 record with a high shot to center field that carried well. Anderson, now an Orioles executive, was in the clubhouse after the game.
"He gave me a big hug and told me congratulations," Davis said. "I've said it all along, when you're hitting home runs and your team is not winning, it feels like it's counterproductive. I was obviously glad to tie the game and then for us to hang in there and get a run off Koji, that's something we've struggled to do in the past."
Reliever Tommy Hunter (6-4) got two outs to earn the win.
Boston's Ryan Dempster started and went the first six innings, failing to hold a 2-0 lead. Talking about the Davis homer, he said, "He just lifted that ball and got it up in the air -- way, way, way up in the air -- and it just kept carrying."
Dustin Pedroia led the game off with a home run (No. 9, his first since July 31) but the Red Sox, who hit into three double plays, got only two hits the rest of the night, one a one-out single off Johnson in the ninth.
"Just a number of missed opportunities early on," Boston manager John Farrell said. "I thought we did an excellent job of putting ourselves in a position to have people in scoring position. Those three double plays that they turned were key. To their credit, they pitched well."
NOTES: Uehara's streak of retired batters is the second-longest ever by a reliever (Bobby Jenks, 41 in 2007), and his scoreless-inning streak is the longest single-season run by a Red Sox reliever since Dick Radatz's 33-inning streak in 1963. ... The Red Sox, who swiped three bases, have stolen a club-record 35 in a row. ... The center field flag at Fenway Park was at half-staff because of the tragedy in Washington. ... Boston recalled RHPs Steven Wright and Brayan Villarreal and INF Brock Holt from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... The Orioles, who reinstated OF Steve Pearce from the 15-day disabled list and OF Henry Urritia from the restricted list (the Cuban defector wasn't allowed to travel to Canada because of immigration trouble), hope to have RHP Bud Norris, out with an elbow problem, start Saturday against Tampa Bay. With RHP Miguel Gonzalez dealing with a right groin strain, Showalter said he didn't know what he'd do if Norris, who threw in the bullpen on Tuesday with no reported problems, can't go. "We used to call it Johnny Wholestaff," Showalter said. ... Orioles RHP Darren O'Day, out since Sept. 7 with tingling and numbness in his fingers, could rejoin the bullpen Wednesday night.