BOSTON - The Baltimore Orioles returned to the East Coast after an exhausting trip to the West Coast. After two consecutive late night, extra-innings wins, the Orioles had an easier time closer to home.
Behind Miguel Gonzalez's solid start, Matt Wieters' three RBIs and Jim Johnson's club record 46th save, the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 before 37,731 at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was the Orioles' fifth straight win, and they needed it because the New York Yankees beat Oakland 2-1 in 10 innings. Baltimore (86-64) remains a game behind New York for the AL East lead.
There was a scary moment for the Orioles late in the game. Robert Andino was hit in the back of the head by a fastball by Boston's Mark Melancon.
Andino, who was not made available for comment by a club official, left the ballpark for a CT-scan.
While the Orioles were worried about Andino, it was Johnson's night. He pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 46th save, beating Randy Myers' 1997 record.
"We're winning games and we're having a good season. That's what it means right now," Johnson said. "It kind of doesn't mean anything. We'll talk about it at the end of the season."
Gonzalez (7-4) continued to be a major surprise, throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits against Boston (68-84).
He left with a runner on and one out in the seventh. Darren O'Day retired all five batters he faced before Johnson came on.
"He's really good. Jimmy's had a lot of challenges behind him," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's got weapons. He's not just going to go in there and be a thrower."
Wieters had the three RBIs, but he wanted to talk about Johnson.
"Both are nice, but it took a second to click in. I think as I was walking to the mound, I thought: 'He just broke the Orioles save record, so that's pretty cool to catch that one," Wieters said.
"As good as he's been this year to be able to hold that record, it's pretty special."
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third on Pedro Ciriaco's RBI double off Gonzalez.
Baltimore scored two in the fourth on Wieters' two-run single off Jon Lester (9-13).
The Orioles had never beaten Lester in 20 career starts.
"He's been tough on us," Wieters said.
Dustin Pedroia's RBI single in the fifth tied the score at 2.
In the sixth, the Orioles took a 4-2 lead when Adam Jones walked with one out and scored on Wieters' double. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Mark Reynolds' single.
Baltimore has beaten the Red Sox in six of seven at Fenway this season
"It's hard to do, but I've said many times that the one common denominator of teams that get to play in the postseason is that you have to compete on the road," Showalter said.
NOTES: The Orioles activated left-handed pitcher Troy Patton and designated hitter Jim Thome from the 15-day disabled list. Patton had been out since Aug. 13 with a sprained right ankle, and Thome hadn't played due to a herniated disc in his neck since July 27. Thome said he never doubted his return, but said that the opportunity to help a young team make the postseason was a powerful incentive. "I think that's always the fun thing to watching guys experience it all for the first time," Thome said. He declined to talk about if he'll attempt to return in 2013. .... Showalter has decided on Randy Wolf as Saturday's starter. Wei-Yin Chen will pitch one game of Monday's doubleheader and Showalter isn't sure about the other starter.