|Boston (55-35) «||2||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||x||8||13||0|
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox enter the All-Star break with a six-game winning streak after starting the season with six consecutive losses.
Quite a turnaround, but not a surprising one for manager Terry Francona.
"I think we are where we deserve to be," he said after Sunday's 8-6 win over the skidding Baltimore Orioles.
The AL East-leading Red Sox completed a four-game sweep and stayed one game ahead of the Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 1-0 on Sunday. It's the sixth time in seven seasons that Boston has led the division at the All-Star break.
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The Red Sox have the second-best record and the best batting average in baseball. They're hitting .278 after pounding out 13 hits against Baltimore, including homers by Marco Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in the second inning.
The Red Sox had 48 hits in the series.
"Hitting is contagious," said Jason Varitek, who had two doubles Sunday. "It gets the ball rolling."
Baltimore has lost seven straight and 12 of 13.
"The break is a good thing, obviously," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Hopefully, guys get as far away as possible from it and come back and play these last 74 games like we have at times this year and get back to playing good baseball."
Francona and Showalter were ejected after pitches hit or came close to their batters. Boston starter Kyle Weiland also was tossed in his major league debut.
The series, marred by a bench-clearing fracas on Friday night after David Ortiz was nearly hit by two pitches before popping out, had more tight pitches on Sunday. Baltimore's Mark Reynolds was plunked in the third and Youkilis was hit by a changeup from Jeremy Guthrie (3-12) in the fourth.
"Obviously on a changeup he wasn't trying to hit Youkilis," Weiland said. "I think just with everything that's happened they jumped to the warnings."
Francona and Weiland were ejected after the right-hander hit Guerrero with no outs in the fifth. Then Showalter and Mike Gonzalez were tossed when the reliever threw a pitch that nearly hit Ortiz in the bottom of the inning.
"I'd have thrown [Gonzalez] out of the game, too," Showalter said.
Asked if he was throwing at Ortiz, Gonzalez said: "The series was frustrating the whole way. It was what it was."
"They're in first place in our division and you can see why. They're real deep," Showalter said.
All but one of the Orioles' eight hits came in a six-run second that gave them a 6-2 lead. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on Scutaro's fourth homer of the year, Pedroia's 11th and Youkilis' 13th, a two-run drive.
Guthrie then replaced Mitch Atkins and retired Ortiz to end the inning. But Guthrie walked Ortiz with the bases loaded in the fifth, forcing in the go-ahead run.
Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI single in the seventh, making it 8-6 Boston.
The Red Sox grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first. Ortiz had an RBI single and Reddick drove in Adrian Gonzalez with a sacrifice fly.
Weiland retired the side in order in the first, then struggled in the second. Derrek Lee hit a tying two-run shot for his ninth homer, and Robert Andino, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones each had an RBI single.
|Kevin Youkilis cracks a home run in the second, the third Boston player to homer in the inning. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||0||0||0||1||0||1||.278|
|Nick Markakis, RF||5||1||1||1||0||2||1||.292|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.285|
|Vladimir Guerrero, DH||2||0||1||1||0||0||0||.279|
|a- Felix Pie, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.223|
|Matt Wieters, C||3||1||0||0||1||1||4||.264|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||1||1||2||0||3||2||.235|
|Mark Reynolds, 3B||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.227|
|Blake Davis, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.259|
|Nolan Reimold, LF||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.257|
|Robert Andino, 2B-3B||3||1||1||1||1||0||0||.263|
|a-struck out for Guerrero in the 7th|
|2B - Mark Reynolds (16, Weiland)|
|3B - Adam Jones (2, Weiland)|
|HR - Derrek Lee (9, Weiland)|
|RBI - Nick Markakis (36), Adam Jones (49), Vladimir Guerrero (31), Derrek Lee 2 (28), Robert Andino (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Nick Markakis (17), Adam Jones (19), Vladimir Guerrero (14)|
|CS - Robert Andino (2, 2nd base by Weiland/Varitek)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Jeremy Guthrie (L,3-12)||3.1||3||1||1||2||4||0||4.18|
|HBP - Youkilis (by Jeremy Guthrie)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mitch Atkins 64-39, Jeremy Guthrie 73-42, Mike Gonzalez 11-7, Jason Berken 4-3, Jim Johnson 27-19, Koji Uehara 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mitch Atkins 3-2, Jeremy Guthrie 3-3, Jim Johnson 1-0, Koji Uehara 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Mitch Atkins 13, Jeremy Guthrie 16, Mike Gonzalez 2, Jason Berken 1, Jim Johnson 6, Koji Uehara 3|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||4||0||2||1||1||0||0||.316|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||3||2||1||0||2||4||.284|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||4||2||2||0||1||1||0||.354|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||1||2||2||0||2||0||.285|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||0||1||2||1||1||0||.304|
|Josh Reddick, LF||3||0||0||1||0||2||3||.393|
|Jason Varitek, C||4||0||2||0||0||1||5||.252|
|J.D. Drew, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.229|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.259|
|2B - Dustin Pedroia (19, Guthrie), Adrian Gonzalez (29, Atkins), Jason Varitek 2 (9, Guthrie, Johnson)|
|HR - Dustin Pedroia (11, Atkins), Kevin Youkilis (13, Atkins), Marco Scutaro (4, Atkins)|
|SF - Josh Reddick (3)|
|RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (49), Dustin Pedroia (44), Kevin Youkilis 2 (63), David Ortiz 2 (55), Josh Reddick (15), Marco Scutaro (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (20), Dustin Pedroia (14), Kevin Youkilis 2 (28)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Youkilis-Pedroia-Gonzalez|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Alfredo Aceves (W,4-1)||3||0||0||0||0||4||0||3.41|
|Daniel Bard (H,21)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.05|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,20)||1||0||0||0||1||2||0||3.93|
|HBP - Reynolds (by Kyle Weiland), Guerrero (by Kyle Weiland)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Weiland 78-42, Alfredo Aceves 41-28, Daniel Bard 9-6, Jonathan Papelbon 18-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Weiland 5-3, Alfredo Aceves 3-2, Daniel Bard 2-0, Jonathan Papelbon 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Weiland 22, Alfredo Aceves 9, Daniel Bard 3, Jonathan Papelbon 4|
|Attendance - 37688|
|Game Time - 3:26|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Mike Estabrook, Third Base - Jeff Nelson|