Dustin Pedroia his his 99th homer as a member of the Red Sox but Boston
still fell to the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
There were no high-fives in Mudville Tuesday — Mighty Koji had struck out.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara entered a tie game in the ninth inning Tuesday night trying to maintain a team-record streak of 37 consecutive batters retired against a Baltimore Orioles team fighting for its playoff life.
Something had to give.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was Uehara.
The rock-steady stopper served up a leadoff triple to one-time Red Sock Danny Valencia, who came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Matt Wieters one batter later and lifted the visiting Orioles a 3-2 win over Boston at Fenway Park in the opener of the three-game set.
Despite the loss, Boston’s magic number to clinch the American League East Division title still fell to three games by virtue of Tampa Bay’s 7-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field.
Uehara ended up taking the loss to fall to 4-1 on the season and see his ERA rise to a still-stingy 1.18. Boston starter Ryan Dempster settled for a no-decision after allowing two runs on three hits while walking four and striking out five in six innings of work before giving way to Brandon Workman and Craig Breslow, who combined to toss two innings of two-hit relief.
Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter — who pitched two-thirds of an inning — grabbed the win in relief of starter Scott Feldman, who gave up two runs on two hits while walking six and striking out three in five innings. Jim Johnson came on in the ninth and allowed one hit but silenced the Sox to earn his 46th save of the year.
Manny Machado went 2 for 4 at the plate as Baltimore out-hit Boston 6-3. The only three hits from the Red Sox came in the form of Dustin Pedroia’s 9th homer of the year and 99th career round-tripper as a Red Sock in the first, a double from Mike Carp in the second and a single off the bat of Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the ninth.
With the loss, the Red Sox drop to 6-9 against Baltimore in the season series but can still eliminate the Orioles from the AL East by winning one of the two remaining games in the home stand.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Commander Xander: In the fourth inning, Xander Bogaerts launched a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Saltalamacchia to score from third base to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
2) Crash Davis: In the sixth and the Orioles down by a run, Chris Davis teed off on a Ryan Dempster slider, driving it deep to center to notch his American League-leading 51st long ball of the year and tying up the game 2-2 in the process.
3) Breslow Holds the Fort: In the eighth inning with men on second and third and none out, Craig Breslow got the call to relieve Brandon Workman and came on to strand both runners by getting Davis and Adam Jones to ground out and Nick Markakis to fly out to end the threat and preserve the 2-2 tie.
4) Danny Boy, The Gripes Are Calling: After retiring a Red Sox-record 37 consecutive batters entering Tuesday’s game in the ninth, Koji Uehara’s kryptonite came in the form of Danny Valencia, who laced a deep leadoff drive to center that eluded the grasp of Shane Victorino and allowed Valencia to reach third. He would come home to score the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Wieters one batter later.
Tomorrow, the 92-60 Red Sox look to take Game Two of the series as they send Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.66 ERA) to the mound against Wei-Yin Chen, who is 7-7 with a 3.99 ERA for Baltimore in 2013. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. EST.