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Red Sox keep pace with Yankees in AL East, pound Orioles

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- About the only things missing from Boston's final road series were the Green Monster and Pesky Pole.

Now, after dominating the Baltimore Orioles in front of thousands of Red Sox fans, first-place Boston finishes its season at its real home, Fenway Park.

Manny Ramirez hit his 41st homer in a five-run first inning, Johnny Damon connected in a four-run fifth, and the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 9-3 rout Sunday.

A majority of the 46,559 fans in attendance at Camden Yards were cheering for Boston. For a third straight day, the seating bowl was filled with fans in red, and the Orioles' home stadium sounded very much like Fenway Park.

"This place has been very good to our team," Damon said. "A bunch of our fans cannot get tickets in Boston. For them to come down on a weekend and take part in this, that says a lot."

The victory enabled the defending World Series champions to remain tied atop the AL East with the New York Yankees, who beat Toronto 8-4. New York opens a four-game series in Baltimore on Monday, and Boston plays four home games against Toronto before closing with three against the Yankees at Fenway.

Boston's 50-24 record at home is the best in the major leagues.

"We're going home. We have a lot of business to tend to, but at home we hope to be a force," manager Terry Francona said. "We have an important week; it'll be fun."

Then again, Camden Yards didn't exactly feel like hostile territory.

"It seemed like we were home today and this whole series," winning pitcher David Wells said. "It's a great feeling. To get a sweep here is a big boost for us. Now we have to go home and keep it up."

Wells (14-7) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings before leaving with right knee pain. The left-hander received a lengthy standing ovation as he walked off the mound, and the noise grew even louder after he acknowledged the cheers.

"It was burning," Wells said. "I'm sure it will be fine. Why push it?"

Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada homered for the Orioles, whose eight-game losing streak matches a season high. Tejada was guilty of two mental blunders and a fielding error that fueled Boston's two big innings.

Throughout the series, the Red Sox jumped on virtually every miscue the Orioles committed.

"They're supposed to do that," Tejada said. "When you play for something, you got to take advantage of all the mistakes. That's what they do right now."

The Red Sox got all the offense they needed in the top of the first. After rookie John Maine (2-3) retired the first two batters, he walked David Ortiz and Ramirez homered to straightaway center, a shot estimated at 424 feet.

It was the fifth homer in five games for Ramirez, who moved into a tie with former Oriole Cal Ripken for 34th place on the career list (431).

The crowd was still buzzing when Trot Nixon singled and Jason Varitek walked. John Olerud then hit a 3-2 pitch to shortstop.

Tejada leaned toward second to cover as Varitek broke on the pitch, even though there were two outs and no steal was possible. The ball bounced through the vacated hole, and Varitek came around to score while Tejada held the relay from the outfield too long.

"The ball took a weird hop," Tejada contended. "I just went to the side and the ball went in the other direction. I don't like to pull an excuse. What can I do? I'm not a Superman."

As for hesitating with the ball in hand, he said, "It's my bad."

Olerud took second on the late throw home, and Bill Mueller followed with an RBI double.

Mora hit his 23rd homer in the bottom half and Tejada drove Wells' next pitch over the right-field wall to make it 5-2.

Boston pulled away in the fifth against James Baldwin. Successive doubles by Nixon and Varitek brought in a run, and Mueller hit a sacrifice fly before Tejada booted Tony Graffanino's two-out grounder. Damon followed with his 10th homer, ending a 1-for-15 slump.

Pinch-hitter Walter Young singled in a run for Baltimore in the seventh.

Notes

  • Baltimore's Eric Byrnes snapped a 1-for-37 skid with a seventh-inning double.
  • Boston won the season series 10-9.
  • It was the Orioles' first multihomer game since Sept. 1.
  • The Red Sox finished 41-40 on the road, their eighth straight winning season away from Fenway.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Johnny Damon watches his two-run homer in the fifth inning.  (AP)
Johnny Damon watches his two-run homer in the fifth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

M. Mora
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Boston

M. Ramirez
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF5112111 .314
    Adam Hyzdu, CF0000000 .171
Edgar Renteria, SS5020002 .274
David Ortiz, DH2100313 .296
Manny Ramirez, LF5112004 .288
Trot Nixon, RF5220010 .289
Jason Varitek, C2211300 .284
John Olerud, 1B5112023 .302
Bill Mueller, 3B4032000 .301
Tony Graffanino, 2B5110003 .308
    Alex Cora, 2B0000000 .233
Totals3891297516 
Batting
2B - Trot Nixon (28, Baldwin), Jason Varitek (30, Baldwin), Bill Mueller (34, Maine)
3B - Edgar Renteria (4, Baldwin)
HR - Johnny Damon (10, Baldwin), Manny Ramirez (41, Maine)
SF - Bill Mueller (6)
RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (74), Manny Ramirez 2 (135), Jason Varitek (69), John Olerud 2 (36), Bill Mueller 2 (61)
2-OUT RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (31), Manny Ramirez 2 (49), John Olerud 2 (8), Bill Mueller (26)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Wells-Graffanino-Olerud
Boston Red Sox
David Wells (W,14-7) 6.2633032 4.47
Chad Bradford 1.1100000 3.74
Chad Harville 1000010 4.60
Pitches-Strikes - David Wells 104-77, Chad Bradford 20-14, Chad Harville 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Wells 8-8, Chad Bradford 2-2, Chad Harville 2-0
Batters Faced - David Wells 25, Chad Bradford 5, Chad Harville 3
Baltimore Orioles
Bernie Castro, 2B4000001 .278
Melvin Mora, 3B4121000 .281
Miguel Tejada, SS4111001 .307
Jay Gibbons, RF4000010 .274
Javy Lopez, DH4000010 .280
Eric Byrnes, LF4110010 .228
Luis Matos, CF3010001 .282
Alejandro Freire, 1B2010001 .281
   a- Walter Young, PH-1B1011000 .280
Geronimo Gil, C3000013 .192
    Eli Whiteside, C0000000 .375
Totals33373047 
a-singled for Freire in the 7th
Batting
2B - Eric Byrnes (24, Wells), Luis Matos (17, Wells)
HR - Melvin Mora (23, Wells), Miguel Tejada (26, Wells)
RBI - Melvin Mora (79), Miguel Tejada (95), Walter Young (3)
2-OUT RBI - Walter Young (1)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Tejada-Castro-W. Young
E - Miguel Tejada (22, Misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
John Maine (L,2-3) 3.1555421 5.54
James Baldwin 1.2442111 3.93
Jorge Julio 2200110 5.90
Steve Kline 1000110 4.35
Jason Grimsley 1100000 6.52
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 71-41, James Baldwin 32-21, Jorge Julio 34-23, Steve Kline 15-8, Jason Grimsley 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 4-4, James Baldwin 2-3, Steve Kline 1-1, Jason Grimsley 2-0
Batters Faced - John Maine 19, James Baldwin 11, Jorge Julio 9, Steve Kline 4, Jason Grimsley 3
Game Information
Attendance - 46559
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi