Mike Carp drove in the winning run Wednesday to give Boston a 4-3
victory over the visiting Orioles (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Don’t be surprised if you spot Boston starter John Lackey on the corner of Lansdowne Street one day soon with a tin cup and a cardboard sign reading “Brother, can you spare a run?"
The Sox have scored an average of 5.60 runs per game for their starting pitchers except Lackey, who has only benefitted from an average of 3.96 runs per game in his starts. Of his 11 losses this year, the Sox have been shutout victims in five of them.
Wednesday night would not prove the exception to the rule, as Boston was only able to muster three runs against Baltimore before Lackey was lifted in the seventh, but he happily settled for a no-decision when Mike Carp laced a pinch-hit flare to left in the eighth to lift the Sox to a 4-3 win.
Lackey went seven-plus innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out four and Craig Breslow worked two-thirds of an innings to earn the win, while Koji Uehara shut ‘em down 1-2-3 in the ninth to grab his 14th save of the season.
For the Orioles, Bud Norris started the game and went 5.1 innings, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking two, but it was reliever Tommy Hunter who shouldered the loss, going two-thirds of an innings and serving up the hit to Carp that turned out to be the winner.
With the win, the Sox tied the season series with Baltimore at six wins apiece.
Carp was the easy hero of the night in his one at-bat, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia ripped his team-leading 35th double of the season and Dustin Pedroia came through in the clutch once again with a two-run single in the seventh to tie up the game. On the other end of the spectrum, David Ortiz was held hitless and continued to be a non-issue at the dish. He’s now on an 0-for-18 slump since being taken out of a game early in San Francisco last week with tightness in his lower back.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Over and Out: In the third and Manny Machado at the plate, Saltalamacchia gunned down Brian Roberts trying to steal third base, and it came at the best possible time. On the very next pitch from Lackey, Machado drove it deep and out over the Green Monster for a solo shot that staked Baltimore to a 2-0 lead.
2) Same Hit, Different Day: One night removed from going 3 for 3 with two homers and seven RBI in a 13-2 win, Shane Victorino kept up the pace in the home half of the third, lacing a hit up the middle to cash in Stephen Drew and cut the Red Sox deficit to one run.
3) Dustin Delivers: After Drew doubled and Ellsbury singled to put men on the corners, Pedroia upped his hit streak to nine games, cashing in both runners with a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.
4) Carpe Diem: After Saltalamacchia doubled with two out and reliever Hunter intentionally walked Drew, Farrell inserted Mike Carp in place of Xander Bogaerts, and it turned out to be the checkmate-move of the night. On the second pitch from Hunter, Carp flared a single into left that allowed Saltalamacchia to race home from second with the eventual winning run.
It was good timing on more than one front — down in St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4-1 to move to 75-56 and remain two and a half games back of the Red Sox, who improve to 79-55 and hold firm to their first-place perch in the American League East Division standings with the win.
Tomorrow, in the finale of the three-game series, Jon Lester (12-7, 3.97 ERA) will take the mound for Boston and face Chris Tillman, who is 14-4 with a 3.66 ERA for Baltimore in 2013.