Coco Crisp drove in three runs, Kevin Youkilis had two RBI in the pivotal sixth inning, and the Red Sox ended a six-game road losing streak by holding off Baltimore 6-5 Tuesday night.
The game was scoreless until the Red Sox scored three runs in the sixth off Daniel Cabrera (7-10). After Baltimore got a run in the bottom half, Boston padded the lead with a three-run seventh.
The Red Sox needed every one of those runs, because the Orioles scored four in the bottom of the ninth before succumbing.
"It's always good to get a cushion like that," Crisp said. "They were fighting back in the last inning on us there."
The Red Sox are 12-1 against Baltimore this season and have won 17 of the last 18 games between the division rivals. But Boston is 24-34 since the All-Star break and a distant 10½ games behind first-place New York in the AL East.
Boston rookie Kason Gabbard was removed in the fifth inning with tightness in his left side. He was replaced by Craig Hansen (2-1), the first of six Red Sox relievers.
The Red Sox played a second straight game without slugger Manny Ramirez, who is nursing a sore right knee. Ramirez has appeared in only six of Boston's last 18 games, but manager Terry Francona said before the game that the team has no intention of cutting short his season.
Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Mike Timlin for the Orioles (62-82), who are assured a club-record ninth straight losing season. It was Hernandez's 20th of the season and fourth in three games.
Baltimore then got singles from Kevin Millar and David Newhan before Timlin struck out Chris Gomez. Jeff Fiorentino's RBI single cut it to 6-5, but Javier Lopez retired Brian Roberts on a grounder with runners at the corners for his first save this season.
"It gets kind of nerve-racking a little bit, but Javy was able to come in and close them out," Crisp said. "It was a pretty nice win for us."
The Orioles stranded 14 and went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
"Our guys kept battling," Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. "They could have shut it down and they didn't. You have to give them credit."
The result, however, was just another loss to the Red Sox.
"They're a good team. They keep coming at you," Perlozzo said. "At the same time, we played several games I thought we could have won."
Timlin allowed four runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning before Francona finally ran out of patience and fetched Lopez to close it out.
"I was thinking about getting Javy for Fiorentino, but (Timlin) ended up making good pitches to Gomez," Francona said. "It's tough for him, it's tough to watch. He was up over the plate with a lot of pitches tonight."
Mike Lowell got Boston started in the sixth with a one-out double. Jason Varitek then struck out for the third time, but Crisp, who had already struck out twice, drove in Lowell with a bloop single to center.
Alex Cora followed with a single, and Youkilis chased Cabrera with a double to center.
Cabrera allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Wearing prescription glasses on the mound for the first time, he struck out eight and walked three.
"It's working really good," he said of his clear-rimmed glasses. "I can see better."
Down 3-0, the Orioles scored an unearned run in the sixth but were left wanting more. After Fernando Tatis hit a sacrifice fly, a walk to Roberts filled the bases. Francona then summoned Manny Delcarmen, who retired Melvin Mora on a tapper in front of the plate.
In the Boston seventh, a passed ball by Hernandez let in a run. Crisp followed with a short fly that fell just out of the reach of a diving Newhan in center field for a two-run double that made it 6-1.
Baltimore got a hit in each of the first five innings, but could not advance a runner past second base. Mora doubled with two outs in the fifth and Gabbard issued a four-pitch walk to Nick Markakis before being removed.
Hansen came in and struck out Miguel Tejada on three pitches.
Cabrera is 1-6 lifetime against the Red Sox. ... Boston RHP Tim Wakefield (broken rib) will pitch for the first time since July 17 on Wednesday. ... Tejada grounded into a double play for the AL-high 28th time in the first inning.