The score doesn't reflect it, but tonight's game between the Orioles and Red Sox was a pitchers' duel. Both Brad Bergesen and Clay Buchholz, though wild, allowed just one run in six innings before turning things over to the bullpen. And it was the bullpen the proved the difference as the O's pen gave up no runs in their three innings of work while the Red Sox, led by Jonathan Papelbon, gave up eight.
Bergy, coming off his complete game win against Toronto, wouldn't have such smooth sailing today. His control wasn't great as he walked four to just two strikeouts. But the Red Sox couldn't capitalize as their only run came in the second inning when Jed Lowrie ended up at second base after a ball ricocheted off of Brian Roberts and went into the outfield. Lowrie scored on a single by Daniel Nava to give the Red Sox a one run lead they'd hold until the top of the sixth.
Bergesen allowed a single to Victor Martinez in the third and needed some help from his battery mate to get out of the fourth. With one out he walked Ryan Kalish, who was then thrown out by Matt Wieters trying to steal. You know I love it when Matty throws out a runner and looks like a bad ass. Bergy repaid Matt by then walking Nava, but Lars Anderson grounded out to end the inning. Bergy retired the Red Sox 1-2-3 in the fifth for his only perfect inning.
The sixth inning started off well for Bergesen as David Ortiz popped up and Adrian Beltre grounded out, but Bergy walked Lowrie. Kalish launched a ball to the deepest part of centerfield. Lowrie would have scored easily if the ball hadn't bounced into the stands for an automatic double. It was a lucky break for the Orioles. Very lucky. Bergy struck out Daniel Nava looking to end the inning and strand Red Sox at second and third base.
As good as Brad Bergesen was, Clay Buchholz was a little better. Luckily for the Orioles, the Red Sox defense wasn't. Buchholz wasn't totally dominant as an Oriole reached on a walk or hit in each of the first five innings but couldn't score. The sixth inning found Adam Jones on first base with two down and Felix Pie at the plate. Pie popped up to second base and the inning looked to come to an end, but Marco Scutaro dropped the ball. Jones was running hard and came around to score, tying the game. Pie wasn't running as hard and only made it to first. In his postgame interview Buck acknowledged that one runner did his job in that instance and one didn't. The one who didn't had already been given a talking to. Aw, Buck.
Scott Atchison started the seventh inning for the Red Sox and immediately got to work undoing the good work done by Buchholz in the first six. Cesar Izturis led off with a single but was eliminated on a ground out by Brian Roberts. Nick Markakis singled, moving Brian to third. That brought Wiggy to the plate, who knocked them both in along with himself, hitting the shortest home run ever down the right field line. It was the Wiggy's first home run since August 22nd and gave the Orioles a 4-1 lead. Hideki Okajima replaced Atchison and halted the rally.
The Orioles scored one more in the 8th when Adam Jones, who had reached on a double, scored on a sacrifice fly by Robert Andino. That sent the game into the ninth inning with a four run lead. Four run leads should feel comfortable, but they just don't to me. Not in Fenway Park. Mark Hendrickson and Mike Gonzalez had seen to it that the Red Sox didn't score another run in the meantime, despite a one batter, one walk appearance by Alfredo Simon.
Jonathan Papelbon came in to pitch the ninth inning and what happened next was simply glorious. After watching Papelbon shut down the Orioles over the years, making his stupid faces and taking his dumb weird breaths, it's fun watching him stink it up. Brian Roberts started the inning with a bloop single to center, then Nicky hit a long single to left. Wiggy then hit a ball to third and Adrian Beltre sailed the throw past the first baseman, scoring Brian. Luke Scott then singled to knock in Nick, and Wiggy scored on a wild pitch. After Matt Wieters popped out for the first out and Adam Jones singled to move Luke Scott to third, Felix Pie hit a ground ball back to Papelbon. Luke was running on the play and probably could have been thrown out, but Papelbon casually fielded the ball and threw to first, then began walking off the field as though he'd gotten the third out. Pap, you card! That was only the second out! Good job losing track and costing your team another run! Bravo. After that snafu, Papelbon struck out Robert Andino. Go ahead, dude, NOW you can leave the field.
The four run, nine batter inning put the nail in the Red Sox coffin and Matt Albers came on to finish the game, securing the Orioles victory on the night as well as their first series win in Boston since July 2004. Tomorrow they'll go for the sweep as The Mentor faces off against the most hideous pitcher in baseball.