Great win tonight. Let's hear from Adam Jones via Twitter:
Fun game tonight. Love Pie. And Luke. Hurts when when slaps me in the chest. Strong bastard. Becoming fun around here!!!!!
It IS becoming fun around here, isn't it? How about some headlines?
Tonight Brian Matusz made his sixth August start and turned in this fifth good performance. He's really starting to look like the Brian Matusz I expected to see this year. He pitched six innings (plus one batter in the 7th) and allowed just two runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked only one, that one being the one batter he faced in the 7th inning. The only time the Red Sox got to Matusz as in the fourth inning when Jed Lowrie homered with Mike Lowell on base. He found himself in trouble again in the sixth when singles by Darnell McDonald and Adrian Beltre put runners at the corners with two outs, but Matusz cooly struck out Mike Lowell to end the inning.
Jim Johnson relieved Matusz in the 7th with the Orioles up 3-2 and J.D. Drew at first base. After cheap single to right by Lowrie and a sacrifice bunt by Bill Hall, the Red Sox had runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out. Marco Scutaro then grounded a ball to third base that looked like it might go foul, but Josh Bell made a good play on the ball, looked Drew back to third, and threw Scutaro out by a step. JJ then engaged pinch hitter Daniel Nava in a nine pitch at-bat that ended in a backwards K.
JJ came back out for the 8th but after a leadoff single by Victor Martinez, Buck pulled him for Mike Gonzalez. Gonzo retired Ortiz and then Koji pitched 1.2 perfect innings to earn his fifth save of the year.
Offensively, the Orioles weren't able to do much against Josh Beckett, and what little they did do was with some help from Boston's defense. In the first inning Nick Markakis hit his 40th double of the season and scored on a single by Luke Scott. Then in the third inning Brian Roberts led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a ground out by Nick Markakis. After Ty Wigginton hit a ground ball for the second out, Beckett pitched around Scott, giving him nothing close to the plate. Adam Jones hit a ground ball to Marco Scutaro that should have been the third out, but Scutaro whipped it towards second and it ended up in right field. Roberts and Scott scored on the error, and that would be the last time Beckett would allow any shenanigans from the Orioles. Becket allowed just two more hits and pitched through the seventh inning.
Felix Doubront relieved Beckett in the eighth inning and with one out Luke Scott gave the O's a little breathing room with a home run onto the flag court. It was Luke's 26th HR of the year, a new season high for him. After Adam Jones flew out to center field, Felix Pie stepped to the plate. Felix had his troubles tonight and just as some of us in the gamethread were lamenting his day at the plate, he crushed a change up to center field for his fifth home run of the year. Take a look at the replay, and I dare you not to feel all warm and gooey inside over Felix and Luke. Seriously, when are those two going to get a sitcom?
With the score 5-2, Koji did his thing and shut down the Red Sox, securing the Orioles' seventh win against them this year and closing out August on a high note. Tomorrow night Jake Arrieta will try to make the Red Sox feel even worse about themselves, but it won't be easy with Oriole killer Jon Lester opposing him.