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Red Sox head into break with division lead after beating Orioles

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- David Ortiz is getting ready to return to a first-place team.

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox reclaimed the AL East lead going into the All-Star break, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Sunday.

The Red Sox moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay and took the division lead for the first time since June 28. Boston trailed by a season-high five games last weekend, then won five of six while the Rays lost seven in a row.

"I was talking trash to my teammates to make sure they got back in first place before I came back," Ortiz said. "I can't wait to start playing again and I am feeling good."

Ortiz has missed 39 games because of an injured wrist. The All-Star slugger is expected to return in time for a series against the rival New York Yankees on July 25.

Ortiz will be among seven Red Sox players joining manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff at the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox went into the break with the best home record in the majors at 36-11.

"We came into the homestand down five games but this shows anything can happen and hopefully we can keep rolling," reliever Manny Delcarmen said.

Matsuzaka (10-1) struggled with his control, but worked around four hits and five walks. Jonathan Papelbon escaped in the ninth for his 28th save of the season and 100th of his career.

"I would've liked to have done it without giving up a run," Papelbon said. "One hundred down and hopefully 3(00), 400 more to go."

Baltimore lost for the sixth time in seven games, and dropped its 14th straight Sunday game. The major league record for consecutive losses on a specific day is 21 -- the 1939 St. Louis Browns and 1890 Pittsburgh Innocents both did it on Tuesdays.

Matsuzaka helped himself by snaring Melvin Mora's hard comebacker with the bases loaded to end the fifth, and has given up just one run in his past 23 1/3 innings. Only twice in 16 starts has he allowed more than three runs.

Even with his impressive record and a 2.65 ERA, Matsuzaka is not among the Red Sox representatives in the All-Star Game.

"When he locates, he's as good as there is," Francona said. "He created some jams for himself, but fortunately they did not string together a couple of hits."

Daniel Cabrera (6-5) fell to 2-10 lifetime against Boston. He somehow managed to only allow one earned run despite permitting 13 base runners in 4 1/3 innings.

"He competed today and did not give in," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "This is a tough one to lose. We needed one hit, one pitch a little different, but we played our hearts out."

After Red Sox relievers Hideki Okajima and Delcarmen combined for two scoreless innings, Papelbon took over in the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Brian Roberts and Adam Jones singled with one out and Aubrey Huff hit an RBI single with two outs before Mora lined out to end it.

J.D. Drew gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead when he doubled home Dustin Pedroia in the first inning. Pedroia is hitting .440 over the past 20 games and finished with 124 hits at the break, one shy of the franchise record shared by Wade Boggs and Nomar Garciaparra.

Pedroia drove in the game-winning run in the fourth with a groundout.

Notes

  • Boston's biggest AL East lead this year was 3½ games.
  • The Orioles stranded 13 baserunners.
  • Opponents are 0-for-11 this season with the bases loaded against Matsuzaka.
  • Orioles starting pitching has a 7.23 over the past 10 games.
  • Sean Casey reached base in all four plate appearances with two hits and two walks.
  • First baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game with a triceps contusion in the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch from Cabrera. X-rays were negative.
 
Copyright 2014 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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It's a happy day at Fenway for Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox, who are in first place.  (Getty Images)
It's a happy day at Fenway for Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox, who are in first place. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Boston

D. Pedroia
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Boston

D. Matsuzaka
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 5
K 7
 
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4120100 .296
Adam Jones, CF3020111 .281
Nick Markakis, RF2000313 .299
Aubrey Huff, 1B4021125 .284
Melvin Mora, 3B50000011 .233
Luke Scott, DH3000100 .254
Jay Payton, LF4010021 .243
Guillermo Quiroz, C3000022 .203
   a- Ramon Hernandez, PH-C1000010 .238
Freddie Bynum, SS3000022 .179
   b- Kevin Millar, PH1000000 .239
Totals33171711  
a-struck out for Quiroz in the 8th
b-popped out for Bynum in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Aubrey Huff (59)
2-OUT RBI - Aubrey Huff (25)
SB - Jay Payton (4, 2nd base off Matsuzaka/Varitek)
CS - Adam Jones (3, 2nd base by Matsuzaka/Varitek)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Adam Jones 1, Jay Payton 1
DP - Jones-B. Roberts
E - Freddie Bynum (5, Throwing)
Baltimore Orioles
Daniel Cabrera (L,6-5) 4.1621620 4.33
Dennis Sarfate 2.1000130 3.40
Alberto Castillo 0.1100000 0.00
Jim Johnson 1000010 2.03
HBP - Youkilis (by Daniel Cabrera)
WP - Daniel Cabrera (10)
Pitches-Strikes - Daniel Cabrera 105-56, Dennis Sarfate 31-19, Alberto Castillo 3-2, Jim Johnson 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Cabrera 4-6, Jim Johnson 2-0
Batters Faced - Daniel Cabrera 25, Dennis Sarfate 8, Alberto Castillo 1, Jim Johnson 3
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4000115 .269
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4121000 .314
J.D. Drew, RF3011101 .302
Manny Ramirez, LF3010113 .293
Mike Lowell, DH4000004 .297
Kevin Youkilis, 3B2000012 .314
    Jed Lowrie, 3B1000010 .277
Sean Casey, 1B2120200 .373
Jason Varitek, C3000123 .218
Alex Cora, SS2010100 .283
Totals2827276  
Batting
2B - J.D. Drew (18, Cabrera), Sean Casey (13, Cabrera)
SH - Alex Cora (1)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (47), J.D. Drew (55)
Team LOB - 11
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka (W,10-1) 6400570 2.65
Hideki Okajima (H,17) 0.2000210 2.82
Manny Delcarmen (H,13) 1.1000020 4.54
Jonathan Papelbon (S,28) 1311010 2.43
HBP - Jones (by Daisuke Matsuzaka)
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 115-68, Hideki Okajima 17-5, Manny Delcarmen 22-15, Jonathan Papelbon 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 6-4, Hideki Okajima 1-0, Manny Delcarmen 1-1
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 27, Hideki Okajima 4, Manny Delcarmen 4, Jonathan Papelbon 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37344
Game Time - 3:32
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Doug Eddings