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Orioles continue their dominance at Fenway Park

The SportsXchange

BOSTON - Apparently, there was nothing wrong with the Orioles that a visit to Fenway Park couldn't fix.

That's even on a night their lights-out closer gave up a game-tying two-run home run in the ninth inning.

The Orioles, who had lost seven of their previous eight games and had gone 1-5 on their current nine-game road trip to fall out of first place in the American League East, pulled out a wild 8-6, 10-inning victory over the Red Sox Tuesday night.

For Baltimore, the team that eliminated the Red Sox from playoff contention in the final game last season, the win was the fourth in as many Fenway tries this season. The four wins have all taken a different number of innings - 13, 9, 17 and 10 - and Tuesday night's contest was a game of ups and downs that eventually saw Buck Showalter's team win again.

"You know what? I try not to get too high and too low, but that's one of our better wins of the year," Showalter said after Ronny Paulino and Endy Chavez (three hits) delivered RBI singles off Alfredo Aceves (0-3) in the 10th inning.

That came after Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer off Jim Johnson in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

"J.J.'s picked us up so many times and for the guys to come in and pick him up, that was nice," Showalter said. "I feel good that we finally picked him up. He's been such a warhorse for us."

Johnson had converted 25 straight chances, 17 of them this season, and was one strike away from getting another. He had to settle for the blown save and then the win, in his first decision of the season.

Showalter came out and challenged the home run call, but it was clear on replay Saltalamacchia, who hit a pinch-hit walk-off homer May 26, had delivered his 11th of the season. The call stood, something Showalter was almost expecting.

But Aceves walked Mark Reynolds to start the 10th, Steve Pearce bunted him to second and Paulino, Ryan Flaherty and Chavez then came through with successive singles, and the Orioles, 5-2 overall against Boston this season, rallied for the win that brought them back into a tie for first in the division.

"I figured we were going to play 17, 18 innings," Showalter said. "That's why I didn't play Chris Davis (the first baseman who was the winning pitcher in the 17-inning game May 6) -- he was well-rested."

The loss dropped the Red Sox back into sole possession of last place in the division, albeit just three games out of first.

"The last inning, just some balls fell through," said Saltalamacchia. "That's the way the game goes."

Pearce drove in one run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and knocked in another in a three-run seventh inning, his first two RBIs as an Oriole.

Boston starter Jon Lester, 14-0 lifetime against the Orioles (0-0 in two starts this season), left with a 4-3 lead after allowing a leadoff single in the seventh inning. Relievers Scott Atchison, who allowed two runs, his first runs allowed in his last 16 outings, and Matt Albers then combined to give up the three runs, one charged to Lester.

Troy Patton relieved starter Jason Hammel (seven strikeouts) and gave up two runs in the sixth as the Red Sox took a 4-3 lead.

Mike Aviles had three hits and an RBI for the Red Sox, who took advantage of sloppy Baltimore defense to score two runs in the fifth and then added two more runs in the sixth, the go-ahead run coming home on Scott Podsednik's sacrifice fly.

Dustin Pedroia, back in the lineup after missing six games with a thumb injury (and wearing a brace on the injured right thumb), hit a sacrifice fly to short center in the fifth. But Pedroia and the Sox' 3-4-5 hitters, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis, combined to go 1-for-17 and strand 12 baserunners.

NOTES: The Red Sox optioned struggling righty Daniel Bard to Pawtucket, activating outfielder Darnell McDonald. Bard's troubles converting to a starter boiled over Sunday in Toronto, when he walked six and hit two batters in just 1 2/3 innings. He is 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA, 37 walks and 34 strikeouts in 55 innings this season, his command absent and his velocity down. "Ben (GM Cherington) and I met yesterday and we met with the coaches today," manager Bobby Valentine said. "We felt it was the best thing for the organization and Daniel to work on his mechanics and not have to worry about his big league record and teammates. He thinks it will be a quick turnaround." ... Rehabbing righty Daisuke Matsuzaka (Tommy John surgery) is likely to return to start in Bard's spot Saturday against the Nationals, his first appearance in the majors since last May 16. He was held to 40 pitches in a Triple-A tuneup Tuesday night. Mark Prior, getting a shot with Boston, followed Matsuzaka to the mound Tuesday night. ... Adam Jones continues to play after MRI results on both hands and wrists showed contusions in both. ... Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen (4-2) faces Boston's Josh Beckett (4-5) Wednesday night. ... Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, out since April 13 with a right shoulder injury, hit off a tee for the first time Tuesday. ... The Orioles signed released outfielder Nate McLouth to a minor league deal.
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