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The mismatch that is Boston versus Baltimore becomes even more lopsided when the Orioles must operate with a depleted lineup.
Clay Buchholz pitched six innings of five-hit ball, and the Red Sox beat Baltimore 3-1 Friday night to extend their winning streak against the Orioles to six games.
Jason Bay hit his team-high 34th home run for the Red Sox, who have won eight of nine and 14 of 19 to take command in the AL wild-card race. Victor Martinez had a single and a double to stretch his hitting streak to 17 games, tying a career high.
Luke Scott homered for the Orioles, who fell to 2-14 against Boston this year. Baltimore needs to win Saturday and Sunday to avoid dropping an 11th straight series to the Red Sox.
Buchholz (6-3) gave up one run, walked three and struck out one. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA in seven starts since Aug. 13.
"In the beginning of the game I didn't have the best stuff I've thrown in the past couple of weeks, but I somehow got through it and we got a win out of it," he said.
Perhaps because the batting order he faced was makeshift at best. After trading away Aubrey Huff and losing Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold to injury, the Orioles had Jeff Fiorentino in left field, Felix Pie in center and usual leadoff man Brian Roberts batting third.
"We certainly have a different lineup," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "Our guys are battling their butts off and we're trying to scratch. For us, we have to cash in on the few scoring opportunities that we do get because we know, for the most part, that we're not going to get a lot of them."
The Orioles squandered an opportunity to change the complexion of the game in the fourth inning, when they got runners on the corners with one out in a 2-1 game. Scott popped out and Ty Wigginton followed with a routine fly to center, ending the threat.
"It worked out for me," Buchholz said. "It was a little draining."
Boston starters have allowed three runs or fewer in each of the last 11 games, and are 5-0 with a 1.72 ERA over an eight-game stretch.
Daniel Bard and Hideki Okajima each threw a hitless inning, and Jonathan Papelbon worked a perfect ninth for his 37th save.
Jeremy Guthrie (10-15) yielded three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He's 0-3 in four starts against Boston this season, and Baltimore has lost all four games.
"I was behind all night. I was never really get on attack and get ahead of guys," said Guthrie, who leads the majors in losses. "My fastball command was terrible. For the most part it was a pitch that was up in the zone."
After two walks and an RBI single by Casey Kotchman put Boston up 1-0 in the second, Scott tied it in the bottom half with his team-high 23rd homer.
In the Boston third, Dustin Pedroia singled and headed home on a double by Martinez. By the time Pedroia got to the plate, catcher Matt Wieters was waiting to apply the tag, following two excellent relay throws by Fiorentino and shortstop Cesar Izturis.
Bay made it 2-1 in the fourth. His 34 homers are one short of his career high, and his 107 RBIs are two less than his career best. He left the game in fifth with flulike symptoms.
"I've had a very upset stomach all day," Bay said. "I didn't do anything - I laid on the trainer's table until game time, then I got up and went out there. Running around didn't exactly make me feel a whole lot better."
This program aired on September 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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