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Day's not a total loss for Red Sox

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- On most nights, the Boston Red Sox wouldn't be too happy with blowing a late lead and losing. But they found out some good news earlier that removed some of the disappointment.

Steve Pearce's two-run double in the eighth inning gave the Baltimore Orioles a come-from-behind 6-5 victory on Saturday night. Some of the sting from Pearce's winning hit was eased because the Red Sox also clinched home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Oakland's loss in Seattle earlier in the day locked up the top spot for Boston (97-64) throughout the World Series.

"I think everyone was well aware of it early in that ballgame, what the final score was out in Seattle," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We would have liked this game to finish up a little bit differently, but to know going into the postseason that for every series we go into, with that home-field advantage ... this is a good thing."

The Red Sox posted a 53-28 home record, which could prove crucial during the various playoff matchups.

That's why the Red Sox were happy to get that home-field advantage.

"It's a pretty big accomplishment for our team," Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "It sets us up nicely. It helps us that we get to hit last. We get to play in front of our fans."

Backup catcher David Ross pitched in with a 2-for-4 effort and two RBI. He said the Red Sox are glad for the home-field edge but now simply are trying to play hard in the final regular-season series.

"We're trying to take this three-game series and just sharpen things up, make sure we play well," Ross said. "We don't really focus on things outside of the day to day thing too much, (but) we're definitely happy we secured home-field advantage."

The Red Sox lost a chance to win this game thanks to a late Baltimore rally.

Matt Wieters and Danny Valencia both singled off Junichi Tazawa (5-4) to start the inning. Franklin Morales came on and struck out Nick Markakis.

Pearce then lined a shot into the left-field corner that scored pinch-runner Nate McLouth and Valencia for the 6-5 lead. The designated hitter finished with three RBIs.

Jim Johnson came on in the ninth for his 49th save -- he now has 100 in the past two seasons. Kevin Gausman (3-5) picked up the victory in relief.

The Red Sox had scored three straight runs for a 5-4 lead midway through the game. Ross had an RBI single in the sixth, and the Red Sox added two runs in the seventh.

Jonny Gomes tied the score with his single off Mike Stinson, which put runners at first and second. Daniel Nava (4-for-4) greeted Brian Matusz with a single to left. Third-base coach Brian Butterfield held up Pedroia coming around third but then let him go when left fielder Jason Pridie misplayed the ball. Pedroia scored to make it 5-4.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second on Pearce's RBI double. Brian Roberts made it 2-0 with his homer off Jon Lester to start the third.

Boston cut the lead in half in the fourth. Ross blooped a two-out RBI single to right that fell in between three Orioles to make it 2-1.

Boston tied it in the fifth on Pedroia's RBI single. The Orioles answered in the bottom half with back-to-back RBI singles from Wieters and Valencia for a 4-2 lead before both teams rallied again.

The victory ensured that the Orioles will win the season series with Boston. They lead 10-8 with one game left.

"The only thing is, it's going to end up being the team with the best record in the American League," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'd trade places with them and have lost the series."

NOTES: The Orioles shut down recently acquired OF Michael Morse because of left wrist problems. He'll be checked out to see whether the injury needs surgery. ... 2B Brian Roberts, whose contract ends after this season, has said he'd love to come back to the Orioles. Injuries have kept him out for much of the last four years, but he played the second half of 2013 without incident. ... Farrell said the team won't have an organized workout on Monday at Fenway Park. The team is going to have a one-day break and get ready to start again on Tuesday. ... 3B Will Middlebrooks made a spectacular defensive play on a hard-hit ball from Wieters in the second inning. Middlebrooks made a backhanded stab and his momentum took him into foul territory. He then leaped and made a long throw that skipped twice, but 1B Brandon Snyder was able to stretch and catch just in time for the out.
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