In a game that was a pitcher’s duel for the first 7 2/3 innings of the game, you wouldn’t have thought the final score would be what it was, 6-5. Erik Bedard shut down the Sox until the top of the 8th when he got into some trouble and the Sox came back to take the lead. Daisuke Matsuzaka was equal to the task as well only allowing 1 run early in the game. But the normally dependable Sox bullpen blew the game and the Sox lost.

The Orioles got a run off of Dice-K in the 1st inning. After Brian Roberts struck out to start the inning, Corey Patterson worked a walk and with Nick Markakis at the plate, Patterson stole second base. Dice-K would eventually get Markakis to strikeout for the second out. Miguel Tejada laced a single to left scoring Patterson but Tejada was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double but after the run had scored.

With Bedard dealing, the Red Sox essentially couldn’t do anything to score until the 8th inning. Bedard struck out Kevin Youkilis for the first out of the inning but he then issued a walk to Mike Lowell. Varitek followed with a single advancing Lowell to second base. Bedard got Coco Crisp to ground into a fielder’s choice that retired Lowell at third. This brought Wily Mo Peña to the plate. The reason WMP was in there because he has had success against Bedard. WMP made Terry Francona a believer as he stroked a single to center that scored Tek from second and moving Coco to third. J.D. Drew came into pinch-run for WMP and the O’s went to the bullpen for Chad Bradford. With two outs in the inning, Julio Lugo placed a bunt perfectly past Bedard for an infield single, also scoring Coco from third giving the Sox a 2-1 lead. Dustin Pedroia then hit a single to Tejada at short who had no play. O’s skipper Dave Trembley then called for the lefty Jaime Walker to face David Oritz. The infield single loaded up the bases for Ortiz. Ortiz made the 49,000 fans of Red Sox Nation in Baltimore happy as he delivered a 2-run single making it 4-1 Sox. Manny followed Big Papi with a single of his own scoring Pedroia and giving the Sox a commanding 5-1 lead. I only say commanding due to the success of the bullpen. Trembley went to his bullpen once again for Jim Hoey. Hoey did his job as he got Youkilis to fly out for the final out of the inning.

Now above I said a commanding lead. Well as I was watching the game, I was proven wrong. Eric Gagne came in for Dice-K to start the 8th inning. Keep in mind Gagne hasn’t worked a perfect inning since coming over to the Sox. Patterson greeted Gagne with a double to start the inning. Markakis brought in Patterson with a single cutting the lead to 5-2. Gagne then walked Tejada bringing former Red Sox funny man Kevin Millar to the plate. Millar was unable to drive in a run as he grounded back to Gagne for the first out. Aubrey Huff then doubled in 2 more runs as Drew misplayed the ball in rightfield. Tito then went to the bullpen for Hideki Okajima. With Brandon Fahey running for Huff, Melvin Mora singled off Okajima to score Fahey and tie the game at 5. Okie then settled down and got the final two outs of the inning.

The numbers on Dice-K and Bedard were most excellent tonight. Dice-K went 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 4 walks and struck out 7. The 7 k’s moved him past Ken Brett for the most strikeouts by a Red Sox rookie. Dice-K now has 159 strikeouts in his rookie campaign. Bedard went 7 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts as well.

The Sox threatened in the 9th off of Hoey. After Hoey got Lowell and Varitek for the first two outs, Coco singled and Drew worked a walk. With Lugo at the plate, Coco stole third but Lugo failed to bring him home as he flew out to right.

The O’s made the 9th inning a short one off of the normally dependable Okajima. Brian Roberts led off with a ground rule double and went to third on a sacrifice by Patterson. Markakis ended the game with a walk off sacrifice fly that scored Roberts and giving the O’s a 6-5 win.

The loss coupled with the Yankees win cuts the lead to 5 games in the AL East. The Red Sox will pin their hopes on Josh Beckett as he takes the hill against Brian Burres. The game is a FOX National game and will start at 3:55 PM.

Notes and Musings:


The Red Sox sent Brandon Moss back to Triple-A Pawtucket and he actually played for them in yesterday’s doubleheader. This was done because they activated Eric Hinske from the bereavement list.

David Ortiz had a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder on Wednesday. He was back in the lineup tonight.