Sidney Ponson is determined to finish at .500 this year. With the way he’s been pitching of late, that seems more and more likely.
Ponson, who was a dismal 3-12 with a 6.29 ERA on July 4, has reinvented himself since the break, using a change of speeds instead of relying solely on his hard stuff. He is 8-2 in his last 12 starts, including an 11-2 victory at AL Central-leading Minnesota on Friday.
Ponson allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking two. He improved to 11-14 on the season, and will finish at .500 with wins in each of his last three starts.
“That first half was a disaster, and I started pushing it harder and harder and right now I’m winning,” Ponson said. “It’s easy when you get these guys scoring 10, 11 runs a game. The defense is really good behind me and it makes my life easier—throw the ball over the plate and let them hit it.
“I have three more starts. If I win all three, I’ll salvage this season.”
Ponson began the season with a 7-2 victory over the Red Sox on April 4. However, he is 2-9 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 career starts against Boston.
The Red Sox appeared on the verge of slipping 5 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees on Tuesday as closer Keith Foulke squandered a 1-0 lead by allowing Javy Lopez’s two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
The Red Sox, who snapped a three-game losing streak, open a weekend series with the Yankees at Fenway Park on Friday.
Baltimore, which won Monday’s series opener 9-6, slipped to 5-4 on its 10-game road trip.
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