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Orioles' bullpen shuts down the Red Sox in extra innings

BOSTON – The clock crept on midnight at Fenway Park – and most of the announced sellout crowd of 37,223 – was likely dozing off.

But it was the Orioles bullpen that put the Red Sox bats to sleep Friday night, throwing eight shutout innings – running its scoreless-inning streak to 19 innings – propelling the Orioles to a 6-4 13-inning win over the Red Sox.

It was the Orioles’ fourth win in their last five games here at Fenway dating back to last season after losing six in a row. It was also Baltimore’s fifth win in six games against Boston overall.

The Orioles bullpen hasn’t allowed a run since last Friday against Oakland, but the Baltimore relievers have dominated all season long, pitching to a 1.56 ERA this season.

"I just think everybody knows when it's their turn, so far we're going to be able to pass the load around, when it's their time to contribute," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That bodes well for their health, the rest factor. But I thought [Troy] Patton was big tonight. I had him up two or three times, trying to keep the left-handers on the bench. And he got some right-handed hitters out in Fenway Park, which is tough for a left-hander."

Right-handers Pedro Strop and Luis Ayala, and left-hander Troy Patton, each threw two shutout innings. Matt Lindstrom threw a perfect sixth.

The Orioles' bullpen stranded five base runners, including one in scoring position in the 10th, when Ayala induced a fly out to center with runners at first and second and two out. Ayala, who has yet to allow an earned run, ran his personal scoreless-inning streak to 14 innings.

"I think Buck really likes to keep a hold on the role thing, other than the closer he doesn’t like to give out roles, probably for that reason," Patton said. "So everybody is ready to go. I think he likes keep everyone on their toes and everyone ready to pitch."

Orioles closer Jim Johnson converted his eighth save of the season in the 13th, his 16th straight save dating back to last season 10 minutes shy of midnight to complete the four-hour, 37-minute marathon.

The Orioles (17-9), who rallied from behind three times to force extra innings, scored two runs in the 13th. Matt Wieters’ one-out single was followed by a walk to Wilson Betemit.

Chris Davis then hit a single past diving Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia to score Wieters. Mark Reynolds’ sac fly scored Betemit for make it 6-4.

Reynolds, mired in a season-long slump, hit his first homer of the season, drove in two runs and scored two runs.

"I felt good tonight," Reynolds said. "I got that first hit in that first at bat and I think I drew a walk and a double and a sac fly. I was feeling good. My other out, I had a hard line drive to the leftfielder. So you know, hopefully this will be the start of me putting some good swings on the ball and you know start contributing around here."

Reynolds’ home run was a solo shot off Red Sox starter Jon Lester that tied the game at 1 in the third inning. The homer nearly cleared the seats above the Green Monster in left and was Reynolds’ first homer in 76 at bats, the third longest homerless stretch of his career.

"He had some really good at-bats tonight," Showalter said. "I thought the tack-on run, that's one of the things good clubs are able to do. Very little margin for error there in the last inning. But I hope so. We'll see. Mark's obviously streaky and I hope this is the beginning of him being able to contribute the way he's able to offensively."

Despite committing three errors –including two on back-to-back plays in the first inning – the Orioles played the Red Sox run for run.

Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, making his first start at Fenway Park, lasted just five innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on five hits, striking out four and walking three. It was the first time in five major-league starts that Chen didn’t give the Orioles a quality start.

In a game tied 4-4, shortstop J.J. Hardy made a game-saving play in the eighth – lunging to his left and snagging Cody Ross’ liner destined for center and throwing from his knees to first to get David Ortiz before he could get back to the base.

Lester, who entered the night with a career 14-0 record against the Orioles, left the game with a 4-3 lead after six innings, but the Orioles scored a run off Vicente Padilla in the seventh to tie the game at 4.

Trailing 4-3 in the seventh against Padilla, the Orioles had the bases loaded with no outs but scored just one run. Reynolds doubled to lead off the inning, and Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez fielded Ronny Paulino’s grounder, threw to third but couldn’t get Reynolds.

That put runners at the corners and a walk to Robert Andino loaded the bases. Hardy hit into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Reynolds. Rich Hill then replaced Padilla and induced a fly out from Nick Markakis to end the inning, but the Orioles tied the score at 4.

After going six games without an error, the Orioles committed three errors in the first two innings. Baltimore committed back-to-back throwing errors by Andino and Reynolds in the first, but Chen was able to pitch around that.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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