BOSTON -- Last year, the Baltimore Orioles helped ruin the collapsing Red Sox's playoff hopes by beating Boston five times in seven games late in the season, including on the final night to complete the meltdown.
Now, the roles are reversed and it's the Red Sox, finishing a miserable season, trying to ruin things for Baltimore.
The Orioles, in a tight battle with the Yankees for the American League East title, have six of their final 13 games with the out-of-the-money Sox. It started Friday night at Fenway Park, when the Birds won their fifth straight, beating Boston 4-2 to keep pace with the winning Yankees.
Baltimore still trails New York by a game.
Matt Wieters singled in two runs in the fourth inning and doubled home another in the sixth as the Orioles beat Jon Lester (9-13) for the first time. The left-hander is now 14-1 against Baltimore but has failed to beat the Birds in his last four tries against them.
Rookie Miguel Gonzalez, given extra rest as the Orioles monitor his innings, went 6 1/3 innings to raise his record to 7-4 with his first September victory.
Darren O'Day got five straight outs before Jim Johnson worked a one-hit ninth for his 46th save, breaking his tie with Randy Myers and giving him the Orioles' club record.
Mark Reynolds singled home a run in the sixth, his 15th RBI in 10 games against the Red Sox this season.
The Orioles lead the season series 9-4 and are 14-6 against Boston dating back to last September.
Robert Andino, whose hit (and subsequent celebration) finished the Red Sox off last year, had his helmet knocked off by a Mark Melancon pitch in the ninth inning -- with warnings issued to both benches.
The Red Sox, who helped spoil Tampa Bay's playoff chance by winning the first two games of the four-game series in Florida, took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Daniel Nava led off with a double that probably should have been ruled a triple via fan interference. He scored on Pedro Ciriaco's doubled off the left field wall.
Lester was able to avoid trouble in the top of the third, when he walked Andino with one out and then gave up a long fly ball that was crushed to right by Nate McLouth. Cody Ross made a nifty catch on the ball near the fence and then got it back to the infield to double Andino off first.
But the Birds flew in the fourth.
J.J. Hardy opened with a sharp single and rode to third when Adam Jones doubled. Wieters then brought the two runs in.
With one out, Lester walked Lew Ford before Manny Machado hit a comebacker that should have been an easy double play. The Red Sox turned two but only because shortstop Jose Iglesias fielded Lester's throw on a bounce before throwing to first. Iglesias also started an easy 6-3 double play that ended the fifth.
With two out in the fifth, Ciriaco singled and rode to third on Scott Podsednik's hit-and-run single. Dustin Pedroia then snapped an 0-for-18 with an RBI single on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game.
Notes: Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the Red Sox lineup with an undisclosed injury. He was 16 for 40 with 10 RBI over the last 10 games. Ellsbury didn't start the series finale at Tampa Bay, but entered the game in the fourth inning after Ciriaco, getting his first look at center field, misplayed two balls. Sox manager Bobby Valentine Ellsbury said he shouldn't have played Thursday night, either. ... The Red Sox added pitchers Zach Stewart and Pedro Beato and third baseman Danny Valencia, who were with Pawtucket when the PawSox, the International League champions, lost the Triple-A title game to Reno earlier in the week. Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur also joined for the final 11 games. ... The Orioles named veteran lefty Randy Wolf to start Saturday's middle game of the series against Aaron Cook. Wolf is 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA in four career starts at Fenway, including a strong seven-inning effort last season. ... The Orioles activated Jim Thome and reliever Tory Patton from the disabled list for the final 13 games.