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Closing Time: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3

06.06.10 at 5:58 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — The Red Sox suffered an anticlimactic conclusion to their three-game series in Baltimore. After hammering the Orioles by counts of 11-0 and 8-2 in the first two contests, the Sox could not capitalize on a strong start by John Lackey. After he left a 2-2 contest, his efforts (7 innings, 2 runs) were squandered in a 4-3 defeat..

Manny Delcarmen allowed an eight-inning run and then, after the Sox rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth, Hideki Okajima continued his year-long struggles. Okajima pitched a strong 10th inning but quickly let the game slip away in the 11th. He walked leadoff hitter Cesar Izturis, allowed a sacrifice bunt by Julio Lugo and then, with one out and a runner on second, after an intentional walk to Miguel Tejada, Nick Markakis lined a single to left-center for the winning run.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Manny Delcarmen had little feel for his pitches. He entered a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth, and promptly issued a leadoff walk and then, after an unsuccessful sac bunt, a run-scoring double by Scott Moore. He walked the next batter (Craig Tatum) on four pitches, resulting in a visit from both Sox pitching coach John Farrell and a team trainer. He was pulled from the game after throwing just three of 13 pitches for strikes.

It marked the second straight struggle for Delcarmen, who gave up back-to-back homers in 2/3 of an inning against the Athletics on Thursday.

David Ortiz was hit on the left hand by a pitch from reliever Mark Hendrickson. The moment was somewhat jarring, since it took place in the same ballpark where Ortiz suffered a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist in 2008. Ortiz, however, was able to stay in the game.

Even so, it was not a good trip for Ortiz to Baltimore. He went 0-for-12 in the series, with a ninth-inning lineout with a runner on second in a tie game. Still, that brief slump was certainly of less consequence than the fact that he avoided significant injury.

Bill Hall had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and stranding four runners.

–The Sox left 11 runners on base and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Mike Cameron, in his first game in a week, delivered on his pre-game promise to bring a certain “sexiness” to the field. He made a game-saving catch for the Sox, racing back to haul in an over-the-shoulder drive to the warning track off the bat of Lou Montanez with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth inning, preserving a 3-3 tie.

Cameron also played a key role in a game-tying ninth-inning rally. He singled to lead off the frame, and eventually came around to score the tying run. ON the day, he went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and two strikeouts.

John Lackey continued to assume a huge workload, throwing 124 pitches in which he allowed seven hits and two runs against the Orioles. He proved effective, working down in the strike zone with his fastball (resulting in 12 groundball outs, compared to seven flyouts), and though he only struck out a pair of batters, he showed good life on his slider and curveball.

The outing marked the 10th time (in 12 starts) that Lackey has pitched at least six innings, the most by any Sox starter. He has also thrown 120 or more pitches three times this year. Only one other Sox starter (Jon Lester) has done it even once.

In his last three starts, Lackey has a 3.72 ERA.

Victor Martinez continued to pulverize left-handed pitching, delivering the Sox’ only offense of the day against Orioles starter Brian Matusz. The switch-hitter fouled off a tough 2-2 changeup and then demolished a 90 mph fastball, driving it into the seats in left field for his eighth homer of the year.

Martinez’ numbers batting right-handed against left-handed pitchers are outrageous. After going 1-for-2 with a walk against Matusz, he is hitting .483 with a .516 OBP, .897 slugging mark and 1.413 OPS.

Read More: David Ortiz, john lackey, manny delcarmen, mike cameron

Cameron gets another chance

06.06.10 at 1:20 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — After another week on the side lines due to soreness in the left side of his abdomen, Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron was enthusiastic about returning to the lineup for Sunday’s tilt against the Orioles. He felt confident that he expected to contribute “sexiness and color” through his return, and contemplated the fact that he, Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall will comprise the outfield on Sunday, marking the first time since April 20, 2001, that the Sox featured three African-American outfielders in their starting lineup. (On that date, it was Troy O’Leary, Carl Everett and Darren Lewis in the lineup.)

‘€œIt’€™s going to be kind of cool,’€ said Cameron. ‘€œI get a chance one more time to run out here and see if I can play some baseball.’€

Cameron recognized that there is an element of the unknown to his return, describing a return to games as being the “true test” of his condition. He recognizes that surgery “could be down the road,” though he said that was a medical decision for later in the season, and that for now, he was simply looking forward to the chance to play in his 17th game of the year. He has been determined by team doctors to be healthy enough to play, but he is not at full strength.

“There are some things I’m still trying to get over,” said Cameron. “Sometimes, it’s not conducive to a great healthy opportunity.”

The Sox are mindful of the fact that, after Cameron played in three consecutive games, he ended up missing the next week. As such, he will likely be placed under even greater restrictions than he was when he returned from the disabled list for an abdominal strain on May 25.

“I don’€™t know that we have answers for a week or 10 days or a year, but I think medically he’€™s been cleared to play. I don’€™t think he’€™s 100 percent,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “Hopefully, he’€™ll be able to play today, help us win and then be able to bounce back, too. That’€™s the big question ‘€“ how he’€™ll bounce back.

“He’€™s not going to play everyday. That’€™s not going to be in his best interests, I know that,” he added. “I went to him right away [before last Sunday’s game] and said, ‘€˜If I play you three days in a row and that pushes you over’€¦’€™ He felt bad. He said, ‘€˜I felt good. I didn’€™t feel bad till the next day.’€™ So we kind of talked about having days off before you get to that point. None of us has a crystal ball, but we probably have to be cognizant of that, that that happened.”

The sequence of events has been an unwelcome one for Cameron. Yet the 37-year-old suggested that it could have been worse — he could have run into the brick wall that is Adrian Beltre, whose collisions with Jacoby Ellsbury and then Jeremy Hermida left a pair of outfielders nursing their wounds.

“I told [Beltre] that I will never run into him. The ball will either drop, or I’€™ll punch him,’€ Cameron laughed. ‘€œThey carried me off the field on a stretcher one time [when he had a horrific collision with Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran that resulted in a concussion and skull fracture], and I said it would be the last time they carried me off the field.’€

(While Ellsbury remains on the disabled list as he recovers from his hairline fracture to four ribs, Hermida is likely available today as he recovers from soreness in his chest.)

As for the possibility that his current strain will require surgery, Cameron preferred not to dwell on that possibility.

‘€œI’€™ve gotten two strikes already, but it’€™s hard to say,’€ he said. ‘€œThat’€™s a medical question that I don’€™t have the right answer for. That’€™s something that will come in a discussion, but to say that would be looking at it as a negative impact in my mind. I’€™m all about the positive and the good vibe. Can you feel it?’€

Read More: mike cameron,

Bonser throws 95 mph in relief appearance

06.06.10 at 12:00 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Red Sox pitching Boof Bonser‘s fastball registered at 95 mph in his inning of relief on Saturday night with Triple-A Pawtucket, according to manager Terry Francona. The relief outing was the first by Bonser in his 30-day rehab assignment, which concluded on Saturday with his perfect inning (2 groundouts and a lineout).

“He threw the ball really well,” said Francona. “[His velocity] played up for that inning, which we expected.”

Bonser has been returned to the Red Sox from his rehab assignment. There is no official date by which he must be activated from the disabled list, but it would appear likely that the Sox will activate him in the coming days. Bonser has a 6.34 ERA in nine rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket this year, but he allowed just one run in his final three appearances, spanning 14 innings.

Read More: Boof Bonser,

Red Sox vs. Orioles matchups, 6/6

06.06.10 at 10:53 am ET
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With the worst record in the major leagues, and having recently fired manager Dave Trembley in hopes of sparking some sort of turnaround, the Baltimore Orioles are ripe for the picking as the Sox head into the final game of their weekend series. The Red Sox will send offseason acquisition John Lackey to the mound in hopes of shutting down an offense that has had some success against him in the past. The Orioles will counter with young lefty Brian Matusz.

In their last matchup April 24 in Boston, Lackey (6-3, 4.95 ERA) pitched well, giving up three runs over seven innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. Although he was tagged for 10 hits, he limited the damage by inducing 11 ground balls while striking out three.

Matusz (2-6, 5.28 ERA) also pitched well, having given up three runs over six innings in a no-decision at Fenway. Matusz was the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Orioles and was ranked as the ninth best overall prospect during the 2009 season. He has yet to have a dominating performance in his brief stint with the team,  but the expectations for him are still high as he continues to battle in only his second season. For Orioles fans, adding a young stud lefty to their rotation will go a long way in making them a relevant contender in an extremely tough division.

For the Sox, it will be interesting to see how Lackey handles the two and three hitters in the Orioles’ lineup. Both Miguel Tejada and Nick Markakis have had significant success against the big right-hander in the past, with each hitter batting at least .300 against him in their respective career’s. Orioles slugger Luke Scott has also handled Lackey well, having hit two home runs.

Lackey has had an up-and-down season to date, but has made a career pitching well in June and July. His ERA in those two months (3.42) is decidedly better than the first two-month stretch of the season. ( His ERA for the month of April is 4.79, while May is 3.92).

As the Orioles continue their season toiling away at the bottom of the standings, the Sox hope to close out the series and inch closer to the Rays for supremacy in the AL East.

Red Sox vs. Brian Matusz

Marco Scutaro (5 career plate appearances against Matusz): .250/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk

Bill Hall (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jeremy Hermida (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (3): .000/.000/.000

Victor Martinez (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 hit

Dustin Pedroia (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 hit

Jason Varitek (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Kevin Youkilis (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 hit

Darnell McDonald (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 hit, 1 strikeout

The Baltimore starter has never faced Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, and David Ortiz.

Orioles vs. John Lackey

Miguel Tejada (40 career plate appearances against Lackey): .308/.300/.436, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, 9 strikeouts

Nick Markakis (31): .357/.419/.429, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

Cesar Izturis (24): .167/.167/.167, 4 strikeouts

Julio Lugo (20): .222/.300/.278, 1 double, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Ty Wiggington (19): .250/.368/.438, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Adam Jones (18): .222/.222/.333, 1 triple, 7 strikeouts

Luke Scott (12): .300/.417/.1.000, 2 HR, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Matt Wieters (12): . 333/.333/.333, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Corey Patterson (11): .091/.091/.091, 4 strikeouts

Garrett Atkins (6): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Luis Montanez (4): .000/.000/.000

Scott Moore (3): .500/.333/.1.000, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Craig Tatum has never faced the Boston starter.

Read More: Brian Matusz, john lackey, Orioles, Red Sox

Closing Time: Red Sox 8, Orioles 2

06.05.10 at 10:21 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — There may not be an American League hitter who is better, year-in, year-out, than Kevin Youkilis.

Since 2008, the numbers suggest that there are few in his company. He entered Saturday’s contest against the Orioles with a .972 OPS since the beginning of ’08 that ranked third in the majors and first in the American League. The only players ahead of him on that list were Albert Pujols (1.090) and Manny Ramirez (.978). Youkilis was well ahead of players such as Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer. His .409 OBP is second only to Mauer among American Leaguers. His .563 slugging mark was, once again, better than anyone else in his league over the three-year span.

All of that was before Saturday’s game, when Youkilis delivered the key blow of the game. With the contest between the Red Sox and Orioles at a 0-0 impasses, Youkilis jumped on the first pitch that O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie threw in the top of the seventh inning. He lined the 90 mph fastball into the left-field seats at Camden Yards for his 12th homer of the year, a shot that gave his club a 1-0 lead.

Youkilis later helped the Sox to blow the once-tight affair open. In the top of the ninth, he added a two-run double, finishing the night having gone 3-for-5 with 3 RBI in his club’s 8-2 victory over the Orioles.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

–Reliever Daniel Bard recorded the two most significant outs of the night. After starter Jon Lester lost the strike zone in the seventh, walking a pair of batters and allowing a single, Bard entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, and the Sox leading, 1-0.

Bard stranded all three runners by getting a pair of pop-outs, retiring a pair of left-handers in the process. First, he got Luke Scott to fly out to very shallow center, too close to the plate to score Adam Jones. Then, with two outs, Bard got Corey Patterson to foul out to third.

Bard retired all five batters he faced. He stretched his scoreless appearances streak to 12 games and 13 innings. On the year, left-handed hitters have an .074 average against Bard.

Jon Lester was again dominant, going 6 1/3 shutout innings while allowing four hits and three walks. He struck out four batters.

The southpaw has now allowed four or fewer hits in seven of his last nine outings, a run in which he is now 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He remained perfect in his career against the Orioles, improving to 11-0 in 13 career starts against the AL East team.

Josh Reddick, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket, went 1-for-3 with a triple. He also drove a rocket to the warning track in left-center. Reddick suggested before the game that his poor numbers in Triple-A (a .191 average, .241 OBP and .603 OPS) were misleading, and that he had been hitting the ball well, but at people. (He mentioned that he had been robbed of homers by wall-climbing centerfielders on three occasions.) His day suggested as much.

Dustin Pedroia stole his first base since April 26, swiping second after singling with two outs in the sixth inning. The swipe snapped a streak of 34 straight games without a steal for Pedroia, the second longest drought of his career (after an 84-game run to start his career). Pedroia also extended his modest hitting streak to five games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

Joe Nelson, brought into the game for the ninth inning with an 8-0 lead, could not complete his team’s shutout. For that matter, he could not spare his bullpen from additional work.

Nelson allowed two runs, two hits and two walks while retiring just one batter.

Victor Martinez entered Saturday on a tear, having gone 10-for-13 (.769) in his prior three games and 21-for-40 (.525) over an 11-game span. But the switch-hitter continued a trend in which he’s been much better against left-handed pitchers than right-handers. He went 0-for-4 with a walk in five plate appearances against Orioles right-handers. Martinez is now hitting .203 with a .597 OPS against righties.

That said, Martinez had a tremendous defensive game at first base. In his first appearance at that position in 2010, he made a diving backhanded catch of a liner in the first inning, and ranged well to his right on a pair of grounders in the eighth for a couple of groundball outs.

David Ortiz has cooled off since coming to Baltimore. The designated hitter is 0-for-8 with a pair of walks in the series.

Read More: David Ortiz, Jon Lester, josh reddick, Kevin Youkilis

Lowell’s shrinking role and other pregame notes

06.05.10 at 8:16 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — First Mike Lowell lost his full-time job at third base when the Red Sox signed Adrian Beltre to man the position everyday. With Beltre and Kevin Youkilis, both right-handed bats, entrenched at the corners, his role as a backup came with few matchup-based guarantees of playing time. Then, with David Ortiz re-emerging as one of the most ferocious power hitters in the game, Lowell’s regular days of serving as a DH against left-handed pitchers also started disappearing.

On Saturday, there was a new wrinkle to Lowell’s dwindling role. Though Beltre was out of the lineup to rest a sore knee, groin and ankle following his collision with outfielder Jeremy Hermida on Friday night, Lowell’s name remained absent from the lineup. Instead, manager Terry Francona elected to have Victor Martinez play first, with Youkilis moving across the diamond to third.

“[The lineup was written] to get some left-handed bats in the lineup,” explained Francona. “We’€™ve got a day game tomorrow. We get Victor in there, we’€™ll let [Jason Varitek] catch. Youk at some point will probably play third in interleague. I kind of mentioned to him last night that we might do this. I kind of knew ahead of time where we were going.”

Still, the move was somewhat surprising, given that just two weeks earlier, while the Sox were in Philadelphia, Francona had suggested that he didn’t want to shuffle Youkilis across the diamond anymore.

“I don’t want to move Youk over to third,” Francona said at the time. “I don’t think that’s in our best interest right now. He’s been playing first. I know he could do it. We’ve got enough third basemen.”

But, with the right-handed Jeremy Guthrie on the hill for the Orioles, Francona had an apparent change of heart. (Martinez, it is worth noting, entered the game with one hit in six career at-bats against Guthrie; Lowell was 4-for-23 (.174) with a homer.)

Obviously, an individual game need not serve as a binding precedent. Even so, on a night when it would have made sense to start Lowell, the 36-year-old once again sat, an indication that his role on the team is becoming ever more limited.

Some other pre-game notes:

–Red Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida said that he found the results of a CT-scan on his chest on Saturday afternoon to be reassuring following his collision with Beltre on Friday night. Initially, Hermida felt more discomfort in his left forearm than his chest, but after leaving the park on Friday, the pain in the chest worsened while the forearm improved.

Given that Jacoby Ellsbury suffered a hairline fracture of four ribs in an April collision with Beltre, Hermida wanted to make sure that he was not dealing with anything beyond soreness. The results of the scan were negative, suggesting that Hermida is dealing simply with a deep bruise in his chest, rather than a more significant issue.

“Just knowing it was a similar situation [to Ellsbury], similar thing, similar spot, you just want to rule out anything like that, especially when it comes to bones and those kinds of things. We just wanted to rule it out and eliminate that thought and know in my mind that we can push it. As soon as I can go, I can go,” said Hermida.  “It’s just a deep bruise. The CT scan was fine. That’s the most important thing. We’ll just get the inflammation and the swelling out of there and go from there.”

Hermida suggested that he would seek treatment from the Sox’ medical staff, and that he hoped to be available to return to action as soon as Sunday.

–Right-hander Boof Bonser is scheduled to throw an inning of relief for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. The game marks the last appearance of his 30-day minor league rehab assignment.

–Francona suggested that the Sox did not give much thought to the possibility of promoting outfielder Ryan Kalish to the majors when a need was created by the injuries to Mike Cameron and Hermida.

“Do we think he’€™s a really good player? Yeah,” said Francona of a player who was promoted to Pawtucket on Monday. “He just went to Triple-A a few days ago. I don’€™t think it’€™s in his best interest.”

Mike Cameron is getting closer to a return. He took batting practice for the first time since going out with a strained abdomen. Still, Francona felt compelled to have a conversation with the 37-year-old when Hermida was injured on Friday.

“[Friday] night during the game, Cam was pacing the dugout. He was seeing guys getting banged up. I told him, ‘€˜Quit pacing ‘€“ you’€™re not going to play. We’€™re not going to do something that’€™s not in your best interest because we’€™re running short,’€™” said Francona. “He’€™s such a conscientious kid. He sees what’€™s going on. We’€™re not going to let that get in the way.”

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Jeremy Hermida, mike cameron, mike lowell

About that dugout spat between Beltre and Martinez…

06.05.10 at 7:34 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Those watching the Red Sox pound the Orioles on Friday night might have noticed a somewhat odd development in the Red Sox dugout in the top of the fifth inning. Adrian Beltre, after clobbering a homer, entered the dugout in jovial spirits but then suddenly appeared to take a swipe at teammate Victor Martinez. (For the video, click here.)

In fact, that is precisely what happened. And the Sox third baseman did not rule out the possibility that fisticuffs could again prevail between him and Martinez, even though the two get along famously.

So what spawned the incident, and why might there be a repeat of it?

“I don’€™t like anybody to touch my head, and he knows it. He does it on purpose,” said Beltre. “So I’€™m not responsible for everything that happens after that.”

Beltre sighed that his punch — which was followed by giggles from both players — likely would not prevent Martinez from repeating his act of insolence. And if that happens, Beltre said, the consequences will be severe. Even though Martinez has the benefit of wearing his catching gear, Beltre vowed that he would not fail to punish the catcher should there be another touch of the head.

“I know where to get him. He’€™s got a bad toe,” Beltre laughed. “[Revenge will happen] off the dugout, probably, where nobody can see.”

Beltre said that he was unfamiliar with the Thai belief that the head, as the highest part of the body, houses the soul and thus should not be touched. But he embraced the notion.

“Maybe I’m part-Thai,” he said.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, dugout fight, head, victor martinez

Red Sox-Orioles Matchups, 6/5

06.05.10 at 12:51 pm ET
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When the Red Sox and Orioles take the field Saturday night with Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie starting on the mound for their respective clubs, the game will have a familiar look. This will be the second time these two same pitchers will face each other this season, albeit this time at Camden Yards instead of Fenway Park.

In the first matchup, on April 23, both starters pitched relatively well. Lester was the first to exit, leaving after 5 2/3 innings, but his was the better of the two pitching lines. He gave up no runs and struck out seven, offering the first glimpse of his dramatic about-face after struggling through three starts.

But the high strikeout count to go along with four walks led to a high pitch count’€”Lester threw 113 pitches to get his 17 outs ‘€” and the early exit. Guthrie lasted 1/3 of an inning longer than his lefty foe but gave up three more runs, leaving the O’€™s in a 3-0 hole heading into the seventh. However, a two-run blast by Adam Jones off Daniel Bard and a blown save in the eighth by Manny Delcarmen tied the game up at three. In the end, it was Boston that got the last laugh as Adrian Beltre forced a bases-loaded walk to give his team a 4-3 win.

Lester (6-2, 2.97 ERA) used that first outing against the O’€™s, his first start of the season where he had allowed less than four earned runs, as a springboard into one of the greatest months of his career. The 26-year-old was recently named the AL Pitcher of the Month for May after he won five of his six starts in the month and posted a 1.84 ERA and a miniscule .162 batting average against. In his last start, Lester, who did not have his best stuff, was able to hold the Royals to just one run for his sixth win of the season. He’€™s allowed just two runs over his last three starts.

His ability to handle Ty Wigginton could prove important. Wigginton has enjoyed tremendous success against Lester in 17 career plate appearances, going 7-for-14 with a homer, three walks and a 1.374 OPS.

Although he has not pitched as well as Lester, Guthrie (3-5, 3.84) has been holding his own since that first April 23 meeting. His numbers so far this season have been much more reminiscent of his 2008 campaign, when he was 10-12 with a 3.63 ERA, as opposed to last season’€™s totals of 10-17 and 5.04. He has pitched six or more innings in 10 of his 11 starts for Baltimore.

He will have to work carefully to Sox slugger David Ortiz. Ortiz has hit him at a .308 clip with a .387 OBP and .808 slugging percentage, the latter mark reflecting the Sox DH’s three homers against Guthrie in 31 career plate appearances.

Red Sox vs. Jeremy Guthrie

Kevin Youkilis (36 career plate appearances against Guthrie): .226/.333/.355, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 double, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (35): .290/.371/.355, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

David Ortiz (31): .308/.387/.808, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 doubles, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (27): .273/.370/.591, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (25): .174/.240/.304, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Adrian Beltre (22): .100/.182/.150, 1 double, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (21): .300/.333/.350, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (21): .263/.333/.474, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 double, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (7): .167/.286/.333, 1 double, 1 walk

Mike Cameron is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Guthrie while Jeremy Hermida is 1-for-1 with a walk. Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald have never faced the Baltimore starter.

Orioles vs. Jon Lester

Nick Markakis (39 career plate appearances vs. Lester): .211 average/.231 OBP/.342 slugging, 1 RBI, 5 doubles, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts

Adam Jones (25): .227/.320/.227, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts

Ty Wigginton (17): .500/.588/.786/1.374, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 double, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Miguel Tejada (15): .417/.467/.417, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Matt Wieters (12): .500/.500/.500, 2 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Cesar Izturis (8): .286/.375/.286, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Luke Scott (8): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Luis Montanez (5): .200/.200/.200, 3 strikeouts

Corey Patterson (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Garrett Atkins is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Lester in his career. Julio Lugo, Scott Moore and Craig Tatum have not faced the Boston starter.

Read More: Jeremy Guthrie, Jon Lester,

Collision (The Sequel): Beltre claims another teammate

06.04.10 at 11:24 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — It was, in the words of Red Sox manager Terry Francona, an ‘€œeerily similar’€ event to one that has reshaped the first half of the Red Sox’€™ season.

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning of the Sox’€™ eventual 11-0 wipeout of the Orioles, O’€™s slugger Nick Markakis lofted a pop-up down the left-field line. It drifted into foul territory, into a sort of no-man’€™s land between fielders.

Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre raced back after the ball from his position, and left fielder Jeremy Hermida came in. Ball and players arrived in roughly the same time and space and ‘€“ just as had happened on April 11, when Beltre’€™s knee plowed into the chest of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury ‘€“ the two players collided.

‘€œI think we’€™re just going to let the ball fall next time,’€ Ellsbury joked, before turning more serious. ‘€œYou just hope he gets up from it. … You try to avoid something like that, but it’€™s just two guys going hard trying to make a play on the ball, giving it everything they have. Unfortunately, sometimes that happens. I looked at the replay once just real quick. I saw that it was pretty similar. I was watching Jeremy just to see if he was all right.’€

Amazingly, Beltre held onto the ball. Still, there were consequences to the play.

The shot was not nearly as flush as it was in the Ellsbury incident, but the force of Beltre’€™s left knee clipping Hermida’€™s left arm as well as a bit of his chest was not insignificant. The inning over, Beltre hopped and limped off the field, while Hermida required the attention of team trainers in the dugout.

Both initially stayed in the game. But Hermida, who struck out swinging in the top of the fifth, left the game prior to the bottom of the inning.

‘€œIf I had to pick somebody [on the team to collide with], it wouldn’€™t be [Beltre]. He’€™s a big boy. It’€™s just one of those freak things,’€ said Hermida. ‘€œGot a knee right to the meat of the forearm, and the chest up here, but that’€™s just bruised, that’€™s it. But it was tough to grip the bat, and swing it.

‘€œIt just feels like a bruise [on the chest]. But the forearm was the thing. Tried to grip a bat and swing, tried to give it a whirl up there, go into it and see what happens. But after swinging once I kind of realized it wasn’€™t going to happen.’€

After X-rays on the forearm were negative, he was diagnosed with a contusion of the left forearm, and is considered day to day. He said that he was hopeful that with ice and treatment he might be able to play on Saturday.

Beltre, meanwhile, said that his knee was fine. Indeed, he crushed a homer to left field (swinging so hard that his back knee ended up on the ground) and later hit a double.

He was chagrined that he had once again had such a ferocious encounter with a teammate, yet relieved that the prognosis for Hermida was better than that of Ellsbury, who has played just three games since the collision.

‘€œIn that situation I’€™m trying to get the ball until the outfielder calls me off. There have been some situations where they haven’€™t called me off because they’€™re not under the ball,’€ said Beltre. ‘€œUnfortunately we have [collided] a couple of times, but I think Hermida will be OK.’€

The incident was deemed a freak occurrence, all the more so given its precedent from earlier this season. Yet short of wrapping the players in foam suits, there is little that can be done to prevent such encounters.

‘€œThat’€™s the only way to play,’€ said Francona. ‘€œYou have to play the game like that. That’€™s a ball where nobody can call it. Nobody knows if they can catch it. You’€™ve got three guys going after it as hard as they can. I don’€™t know how Beltre caught that ball. I was actually watching to see where it went, because you see the bodies. You don’€™t see the ball. I don’€™t know how that ball stayed in the glove.’€

Read More: Adrian Beltre, collision, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida

Closing Time: Red Sox 11, Orioles 0

06.04.10 at 10:09 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — On a day when the Orioles changed managers in hopes of generating (in the words of their GM, Andy MacPhail), “a spark,” the only heat that was generated occurred when the Red Sox scorched them. In a show of complete dominance, the Sox — behind emerging star Clay Buchholz — outhit the Orioles, 16-5, en route to a 11-0 victory at Camden Yards.

Buchholz went the distance, recording his first complete-game of the season and his second-career shutout. His only other shutout also came against the Orioles: a no-hitter on Sept. 1, 2007.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Clay Buchholz continued his emergence as one of the best pitchers in the American League. The right-hander was in complete control, allowing just five hits and one walk, en route to his ninth straight road start (dating to last Aug. 19), tied for the second longest streak in Red Sox history. Only Roger Clemens had a longer road winning streak, reeling off victories in 12 straight road starts.

Buchholz (8-3, 2.39) has also claimed victories in each of his last five starts. He has allowed no more than two runs while pitching at least six innings in each of those outings, and his ERA in that time is 0.99.

On Friday, he was extremely efficient, mixing his two- and four-seam fastballs with a cutter and changeup to get a lot of early-count outs from the Orioles.

Kevin Youkilis continued his two-out excellence, unloading on a Mark Hendrickson fastball with two out and two on for his 11th homer of the year. He later added a two-out single, going 2-for-4 on the night when the Sox were down to their final out of the frame. He is now hitting .308 with a .483 OBP, .662 slugging, 1.144 OPS and 16 RBI in such situations.

–Youkilis was not the only Red Sox player to deliver two-out production. J.D. Drew also delivered a two-out double in the bottom of the first inning. The Sox have now scored 131 runs with two outs this year, the most in the majors.

Marco Scutaro recorded his fourth three-hit game in his last seven contests, going 3-for-6 with a single, double and his second homer in as many games. In that span, he has raised his average 26 points (from .250 to .276) and his OPS by 76 points (from .660 to .736).

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

–The only concern for the Sox was the result of a bizarre and difficult-to-believe instance of deja vu.

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Nick Markakis lifted a pop up down the left field line in foul territory. Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre and left fielder Jeremy Hermida both raced to the ball, converging upon it at nearly the same time. As Beltre made a stunning over-the-shoulder catch, his knee slammed into the sliding Hermida’s left arm and shoulder in a startling echo of Beltre’s collision with left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on April 11, when Beltre’s knee plowed into the chest of the left fielder.

Both Beltre and Hermida made it off the field under their own power, and both initially remained in the game. Beltre, in fact, homered in the fifth inning, unloading on a Matt Albers pitch with a corkscrew swing that ended with his knee on the dirt in the batter’s box. But Hermida ended up leaving the game prior to the bottom of the fifth inning.

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