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Give Red Sox Credit For Battling Through 8-6 Win Over O’s in Baltimore – Fenway Park 5/21/12

You have to give the Red Sox credit for battling through an 8-6 win over the 1st place Orioles in Camden Yards in Baltimore on Monday night.  After taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies over the weekend, this was definitely a potential let-down game.  But with a chance to get back to .500 with a win and a chance to pull within 5.5 games of the 1st place Orioles, a lot was riding on this one.

It wasn’t all easy or pretty.  After taking a 2-0 lead in the 3rd, Clay Buchholz gave it right back with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Buchholz had already walked 2 runs in and he faced a no-out bases loaded situation, but he hung tough and got slugger Adam Jones to hit into a run-scoring double play.  That provided just enough breathing room for Buchholz to get out of the inning without more damage other than the 4 runs.  And sure Buchholz allowed the lead to increase to 5-2 with Chris Davis’ solo homer in the 4th, but he gutted it out for 5 1/3 innings and with the Red Sox still in striking distance.

david Ortiz got things going in the 6th inning with a solo home run.  The Red Sox manufactured 2 more runs that tied the game at 5 on a sacrifice fly and a balk.  The Red Sox added 2 runs in the 7th to take a 7-5 lead and an insurance run in the 8th inning.  And the bullpen did the rest.

Andrew Miller pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.  After Rich Hill got into trouble in the 8th, Vincente Padilla shut the door with 2 straight outs.  And then Alfredo Aceves worked a perfect 9th to pick up his 10th save of the season.  His WHIP (1.38) and ERA (4.43) are finally back into respectable territory – 6 straight scoreless appearances and he has not blown a save since that disastrous Saturday afternoon against the Yankees at Fenway Park back on April 21st.

The Red Sox are 21-21.  They are 5.5 games back of the O’s and Rays.  Look out American League.  They are not great, but they are also not going to go quietly.  Andrew Bailey will be back at some point to help out the bullpen; Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury will provide an immediate jolt to the offense.  And Mark Melancon has been nearly perfect at Triple-A Pawtucket in the closer’s role.  Throw in a few mid-season trades (Matt Garza from the Cubs anyone?) and the Sox will find themselves back in the thick of things very soon…

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