Needed in the clutch
Hitting with runners in scoring position hasn't been Nick Markakis' strength this season, but he delivered yesterday with a single to center field in the sixth inning that scored Brian Roberts from second base and reduced Boston's lead to 3-2. Markakis was hitting .212 with runners in scoring position, including .167 with fewer than two outs. His single off Red Sox starter Jon Lester came with one out, after Roberts doubled and Jay Payton produced the Orioles' first run with a grounder to shortstop that scored Guillermo Quiroz. Markakis also was in an 0-for-11 slump, with six strikeouts, before the at-bat.
Double your pleasure
Starter Daniel Cabrera made enough big pitches to keep the Orioles close. Three of them produced double plays that bailed him out of trouble. The Red Sox led 1-0 two batters into the game, but the damage was minimized when David Ortiz grounded to Roberts, who started the first double play. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield hit with one out in the third inning, but Dustin Pedroia grounded to shortstop Freddie Bynum for the second twin killing. And Manny Ramirez was erased on Mike Lowell's grounder to short after singling with one out in the fourth.
The Orioles are off today, giving them a little more time to ponder the significance of their first interleague series that begins tomorrow (7:05 p.m.) against the Washington Nationals at Camden Yards. The Orioles have the worst record in interleague play among American League teams at 79-114. Left-hander Garrett Olson will make his first career appearance against the Nationals, who will send right-hander Shawn Hill to the mound. The Nationals have lost Hill's past two starts, though he only allowed two runs in seven innings against the Florida Marlins on Sunday.