Boston at Baltimore

Scoreboard
Boston (89-71)0101000013110
Baltimore (68-92) «01001400x681

Red Sox lose again, fall into wild-card tie with Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox have finally fallen all the way back to pack, and now they've got only two games left to make it right.

The Red Sox found another way to lose, this time on a broken-bat single and an inside-the-park home run, and their 6-3 defeat against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night dropped them into a tie in the AL wild-card race.

More on Red Sox at Orioles
Column
Danny Knobler Danny Knobler
Everything that made Boston so tough this summer has suddenly vanished in September. Read>>
Related links
Eye on Baseball news | Follow on Twitter

Boston's 17th loss in 22 games enabled Tampa Bay to pull even in the duel for the league's final playoff spot. The Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 5-2, trailed by nine games after play on Sept. 3.

The Red Sox had either stood atop the AL East or led the wild-card race every day since before play on May 24.

In spite of the epic collapse, Boston can squeeze into the playoffs by winning its last two games. Then, at worst, the Red Sox will face the Rays in a one-game playoff.

"We win every game, we're in the playoffs," right fielder Adrian Gonzalez said. "It's definitely in our hands."

Problem is, the Red Sox haven't won back-to-back games since August.

"We've backed ourselves about as far as we can go," manager Terry Francona said.

With the score 2-2 in the sixth inning, Boston starter Josh Beckett (13-7) allowed four runs in an uprising that began with Vladimir Guerrero becoming the career hits leader among Dominican-born players.

Guerrero broke a tie with Julio Franco by bouncing a single up the middle, his 2,587th career hit. The 36-year-old Guerrero then stole second base, and after a two-out walk to Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis broke his bat hitting a soft liner to right that brought home the go-ahead run.

"I didn't make pitches when I needed to," Beckett said. "I tried to bounce a changeup to Davis there and I leave it up and he serves it to right field."

Robert Andino followed with a deep fly to center that Jacoby Ellsbury had in his glove before crashing into the wall. Andino sprinted around the bases and made it home as the relay throw bounced past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Pedro Strop struck out Saltalamacchia and retired Marco Scutaro on a grounder.

Although Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI single in the ninth, the Red Sox stranded two runners and fell to 6-19 in September, the second-worst record in the majors behind the Minnesota Twins. It's also Boston's second worst September, behind a 4-18 mark in 1926, according to STATS LLC.

Jed Lowrie hit a home run for the Red Sox, whose September swoon includes four losses in five games against Baltimore.

Beckett allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander won four consecutive decisions before losing to the Orioles twice in six days.

"We've got to win games, and we're not going to do it when your starting pitcher gives up six runs," Beckett said.

Troy Patton (2-1) retired all five batters he faced after entering for starter Tommy Hunter, who gave up one earned run in five innings.

"It's a relentless lineup, and that's why I'm so proud of our pitchers," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Tommy gave us what he had today. He was barking pretty good there the last inning or so with the groin [injury]."

Boston placed runners on second and third with two outs in the first before Hunter issued an intentional walk to Gonzalez and retired Lowrie on a fly ball. The Red Sox bounced back with an unearned run in the second on a two-out throwing error by rookie left fielder Matt Angle.

Matt Wieters tied it in the bottom half with an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats. Wieters has 21 home runs this year after totaling 20 in his first two big-league seasons.

Lowrie led off the fourth with his sixth home run, the third against Baltimore. Boston then got runners on the corners with two outs before Nick Markakis made a sliding catch of Carl Crawford's sinking liner to right.

The Orioles drew even at 2 in the fifth on an RBI single by Davis. But with the bases loaded and one out, Beckett retired J.J. Hardy on a popup and struck out Markakis.

Notes

  • Boston C Jason Varitek was a late scratch. He took a ball off his left knee in the nightcap Sunday against New York. He was replaced by Saltalamacchia, who left in the eighth when struck near the throat by a foul ball.
  • Ellsbury's second-inning double extended his hitting streak against Baltimore to 34 games, longest by a Red Sox player against another team in the history of the franchise.
  • Francona said he hasn't decided who will start Wednesday. It could be 15-game winner Jon Lester on three days of rest.
  • Ex-Oriole Erik Bedard (5-9) will pitch for the Red Sox on Tuesday against rookie Zach Britton (11-10).
  • Showalter received in-house treatment for an ankle injury early in the game but was back by the second inning.
 
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.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Jacoby Ellsbury fails to hold on to Robert Andino's drive in the sixth inning, and the result is an inside-the-park home run.  (Getty Images)
Jacoby Ellsbury fails to hold on to Robert Andino's drive in the sixth inning, and the result is an inside-the-park home run. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

R. Andino
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Boston

J. Ellsbury
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

December 22, 2014
Browns at Ravens Preview (3:01)
December 10, 2014
Fantasy Update: Steve Smith
(0:42)
December 7, 2014
TOPS: Bart Scott talks NFL headlines (12/7)
(5:32)
December 7, 2014
TOPS: Haloti Ngata's suspension
(2:07)
Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4120000 .323
Carl Crawford, LF5000004 .255
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4021110 .303
David Ortiz, DH5020030 .308
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B3010202 .338
Jed Lowrie, 3B4111116 .257
J.D. Drew, RF4020000 .223
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C4000024 .235
    Ryan Lavarnway, C0000000 .233
Marco Scutaro, SS4110004 .295
Totals37311247  
Batting
2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (46, Hunter), David Ortiz (40, Hunter)
HR - Jed Lowrie (6, Hunter)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (89), Jed Lowrie (36)
CS - Dustin Pedroia (8, 2nd base by Hunter/Wieters)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Gonzalez-Scutaro
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Josh Beckett (L,13-7) 6766452 2.89
Alfredo Aceves 1100010 2.63
Kyle Weiland 1000020 7.66
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 108-71, Alfredo Aceves 16-13, Kyle Weiland 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 9-3, Alfredo Aceves 2-0
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 28, Alfredo Aceves 4, Kyle Weiland 3
Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Angle, LF3010100 .177
J.J. Hardy, SS4000023 .265
Nick Markakis, RF3010114 .285
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4110001 .289
Matt Wieters, C4111003 .262
Adam Jones, CF4110031 .280
Mark Reynolds, 1B2100220 .222
Chris Davis, 3B4122000 .260
Robert Andino, 2B2113000 .266
Totals3068648  
Batting
2B - Nick Markakis (30, Aceves), Chris Davis (11, Beckett)
HR - Matt Wieters (21, Beckett), Robert Andino (5, Beckett)
SH - Robert Andino (9)
RBI - Matt Wieters (65), Chris Davis 2 (18), Robert Andino 3 (35)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Davis (7), Robert Andino 3 (12)
SB - Matt Angle (11, 2nd base off Beckett/Saltalamacchia), Vladimir Guerrero (2, 2nd base off Beckett/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Wieters-Hardy
E - Matt Angle (2, Throwing)
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hunter 5721321 4.68
Troy Patton (W,2-1) 1.2000010 3.25
Willie Eyre 0.1000010 3.50
Clay Rapada 0.1100010 6.06
Pedro Strop 0.2100110 2.14
Jim Johnson 1211010 2.70
IBB - Gonzalez by Tommy Hunter
HBP - Ellsbury (by Jim Johnson)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hunter 90-54, Troy Patton 21-15, Willie Eyre 3-3, Clay Rapada 6-4, Pedro Strop 14-9, Jim Johnson 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hunter 3-9, Troy Patton 2-2, Pedro Strop 1-0, Jim Johnson 1-1
Batters Faced - Tommy Hunter 24, Troy Patton 5, Willie Eyre 1, Clay Rapada 2, Pedro Strop 4, Jim Johnson 6
Game Information
Attendance - 21786
Game Time - 3:17
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Scott Barry