BOSTON -- A decisive bloop single meant more to rookie Daniel Nava than the grand slam he hit on the first pitch he faced in his major league career.
Nava sliced a popup down the right-field line as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Friday night, scoring Marco Scutaro with the go-ahead run that gave the Boston Red Sox a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Just 20 days earlier, he became the second player in major league history to hit his first pitch for a grand slam in a 10-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Friday's hit fell between three Orioles not far beyond first base.
"This one helped our team win, so I guess that's what's more important," Nava said. "The other one, obviously, was a lot of fun, but I think this one had more riding on it."
J.D. Drew hit two homers for the Red Sox in the second and fifth innings off Brad Bergesen (3-5), giving him 10 for the season. Baltimore's runs off Tim Wakefield (3-6) came on Nick Markakis' fourth homer in the fourth and an RBI single by Corey Patterson in the fifth.
Jonathan Papelbon had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning for his 19th save in 22 opportunities and Boston moved a half-game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
"I wanted the lefty," Baltimore manager Juan Samuel said. "They had two lefties coming up in Patterson and [David] Ortiz."
But Nava hit right-handed and got the key single on a 2-1 pitch.
"I was really just looking for anything to drive, basically anything just to try to put the ball in play hard," Nava said, "which is funny because I didn't do it at all."
"It's frustrating," Ohman said. "He [Bergesen] doesn't deserve to lose like that. We don't deserve a loss like that."
The game was Boston's shortest of the season, 2 hours, 7 minutes. The previous shortest games lasted 2:32 on May 12 and 20. And it was the shortest at Fenway Park since Sept 17, 2002, when Wakefield pitched eight innings in a 4-2 win over Cleveland that lasted 2:06.
"That was a tough one for us," Samuel said of Friday's loss. "It was well played by both clubs."
Wakefield allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings for his second win in his last six decisions. But he broke a tie with Roger Clemens for most starts at Fenway Park with 201.
Manager Terry Francona said it was important for individual players not to try to do too much to pick up the slack.
"It would be great if guys want to get hot, but I don't think you go into a game thinking like that," he said.
The Orioles lost for the third time in eight games but scored three runs or less for the 45th time in their 79 games.
Bergesen pitched one of his best games of the season but remained winless since May 12.
"He did even more than we could have asked," Wigginton said.
Nava did just enough.
"Nava didn't crush that ball by any means," Francona said, "but it worked out."Notes
- The Red Sox called up RHP Robert Manuel and IF Niuman Romero from Triple-A Pawtucket.
- Brothers Corey and Eric Patterson played in the same game for the first time since May 25 when Eric was with Oakland. Corey played center field for Baltimore and Eric was in left for Boston.
- The Red Sox are 16-2 in their last 17 home games against Baltimore.
- Scutaro extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- Matt Weiters' eight-game hit streak ended for Baltimore.