February 21, 2018
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Orioles hold off Red Sox

Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports | BDN
Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports | BDN
Baltimore's Nick Markakis (21) congratulates Chris Davis (19) after Davis hit a home run during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston Tuesday night.
By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange

BOSTON — The Baltimore Orioles, fighting to stay alive in the American League wild card chase, pulled out a special victory on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Chris Davis tied the score with his club-record 51st home run in the sixth inning and the Orioles, who entered play two games off the wild card pace, struck for a run against dominant closer Koji Uehara to pull out the 3-2 win.

Uehara (4-1) had retired 37 straight batters when he entered to start the ninth inning and was greeted by a long triple from Danny Valencia. Matt Wieters’ sacrifice fly gave the Birds the lead and Jim Johnson pitched the bottom of the inning for his 46th save.

The comeback allowed the Orioles, a team ready to shatter the major league record for fewest errors in a season, to win on a night they made a season-high three errors and with starter Scott Feldman walking a career-high six batters in five innings.

Reliever Tommy Hunter (6-4) got two outs and was credited with the victory.

Ryan Dempster started for Boston and went the first six innings, failing to hold a 2-0 lead.

Davis broke Brady Anderson’s 1996 club record with his home run in the sixth.

Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a home run, his first since July 31, but the Red Sox got only two hits the rest of the night, one a one-out single against Johnson in the ninth.

The loss kept the Red Sox, whose magic number for clinching the AL dropped to three with Tampa Bay losing, from securing up a playoff spot. They needed a win and a Cleveland loss to clinch their first playoff berth since 2009.

Craig Breslow relieved with second and third and nobody out in the eighth and retired Davis, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis — the middle of the Baltimore lineup — without a run scoring. But it wasn’t enough to keep Boston from losing for the second time in eight games.

Pedroia’s towering homer was his first leadoff shot since 2009, the third by a Boston player this season (Jacoby Ellsbury has the other two) and the 99th of his career. It also snapped a string of 176 at-bats without a homer for Pedroia.

The next time up, with the bases loaded and two outs in the second, Pedroia hit a hard line drive that was speared by second baseman Brian Roberts.

The Orioles became unglued in the fourth. An error by third baseman Manny Machado led to a double steal by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew and then an error by left fielder Nate McLouth. Boston scored once and could have had more, but Pedroia banged into a double play.

The Orioles got a run back in the fifth on a walk, a J.J. Hardy double and a groundout.

NOTES: The three steals in the first four innings gave the Red Sox 35 straight, a club record. … The center-field flag at Fenway Park was at half-staff because of the tragedy in Washington. … Boston recalled RHPs Steven Wright and Brayan Villarreal and IF Brock Holt from Pawtucket. … Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks was over his flu-like symptoms but missed his second straight game. … The Orioles, who reinstated OF Steve Pearce from the 15-day disabled list and OF Henry Urritia from the restricted list (the Cuban defector wasn’t allowed to travel to Canada because of immigration trouble), hope to have Bud Norris, out with an elbow problem, start Saturday against Tampa Bay. With Miguel Gonzalez already hurt, manager Buck Showalter said he didn’t know what he’d do if Norris, who threw in the bullpen on Tuesday with no reported problems, can’t go. “We used to call it Johnny Wholestaff,” Showalter said. “We’ll see. I’m hoping Bud feels good enough to (start).” … Orioles RHP Darren O’Day, out since Sept. 7 with tingling and numbness in his fingers, could rejoin the bullpen on Wednesday night.

RANGERS 7, RAYS 1: The Texas Rangers pulled into a tie for the top American League wild-card spot with Tampa Bay on Tuesday, hammering the Rays 7-1 at Tropicana Field to end a seven-game losing streak.

Both teams are 82-68 with two games left in the series.

Texas starter Alexi Ogando (7-4) allowed a run on two hits in five innings and escaped two potential jams. Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson (11-9) allowed five runs in less than three innings of work for the second time in his past four starts.

Ian Kinsler (2-for-5) and Elvis Andrus (2-for-3) each homered and drove in three runs. Leonys Martin homered and doubled twice, scoring three times from the ninth spot in the batting order.

Tampa Bay managed just four hits off Ogando and four relievers.

Texas took a 1-0 lead — its first in eight games spanning 64 innings — when Kinsler belted the first pitch of the game for his 12th home run of the season. The Rangers added four runs in the third to chase Hellickson after 2 2/3 innings.

Mitch Moreland led off the third with a walk and took third on a Martin double. Kinsler hit the first pitch for a two-run single. Andrus then walloped a 2-0 fastball into the left field stands for a 4-0 lead.

Tampa Bay had two hits and scored a run in the bottom of the third but stranded runners on second and third.

The run came on Jose Lobaton’s seventh homer of the season, a towering shot tucked inside the right field foul pole that trimmed the Rangers’ lead to 4-1. Ogando subsequently allowed a walk to Yunel Escobar and a single by Ben Zobrist but escaped despite a wild pitch, retiring Wil Myers and James Loney to end the threat.

NOTES: Manager Ron Washington told a Dallas radio station that the Rangers’ problems this month have made him “concerned about my job.” Washington said he had not had any conversations with the front office about his job security, and CEO Nolan Ryan told the same ESPN Dallas radio station on Monday that Washington should and would survive the season. … Rays RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) may be activated Wednesday after a positive session facing hitters Monday. … SS Tim Beckham, RHP Jake Odorizzi and LHP Jeff Beliveau are likely to be recalled by the Rays after the Triple-A championship game Tuesday night. Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, Durham, lost the title game to Omaha, 2-1. … The Rays selected the contract of OF Freddy Guzman, 32, and added him to the active roster. Guzman has played in 47 major league games, most recently with the New York Yankees in 2009.


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