The Orioles (58-48) had dominated Boston, winning nine of their past 10 series against Boston heading into the weekend, but their bats went cold over the past two games with runners in scoring position.
Chris Davis slugged his way to another milestone Sunday, pulling his 100th career home run into the right field seats, but lost in the shuffle was another trend that shows how well the Orioles first baseman has been hitting this year.
When the Orioles travel to Detroit to begin a six-game road trip Monday, second baseman Brian Roberts will be with the team, and the club is optimistic he can start a minor league rehabilitation assignment upon the return from the trip.
The American League East has long been considered one of baseball's toughest divisions, and that should hold true again in 2013. But it's no longer a division dominated by a couple high-spending teams and the occasional upstart. Suddenly, the AL East is being recognized for its depth.
Shields has pitched slightly better at home (3.42 ERA) than on the road (3.83 ERA) and has been a much better pitcher in the second half (2.97 ERA) than the first (4.17 ERA), which is just enough information to cast doubt on whether his earlier performances against the Orioles this year are even relevant at this point.
A year ago Friday, Robert Andino etched his name into Orioles lore with a ninth-inning sinking liner to left that escaped the glove of Boston¿s Carl Crawford, plated Nolan Reimold with the game-winner, extinguished the Red Sox¿s playoff hopes and helped send that franchise into an unforeseen spiral.
The Orioles were an out away from making a clean getaway on Friday night when Red Sox pitcher Mark Melancon drilled O¿s second baseman Robert Andino in the side of the head with a pitch. Andino left the game and underwent concussion testing. He also was scheduled to undergo a CT scan after the game.
Miguel Gonzalez outpitched Orioles killer Jon Lester, allowing just two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings, as the O¿s won their fifth straight, 4-2, in front of an announced sellout crowd of 37,731 at Fenway Park.
The Orioles (31-24) extended their Fenway Park mark to 4-0 this season ¿ three of those wins coming in extra innings. The teams have now played 49 innings at Fenway this year ¿ the equivalent of roughly 5 ½ games.
The Orioles began their current six-game road trip with many believing it would tell us a lot about what we need to know about the 2012 Birds. Baltimore's early-season success could be discounted by a favorable schedule early on, but road series in New York and Boston would be better indicators of the Orioles' staying power.
Robert Andino and the Orioles are not stopping to look back at last year's walk-off win over the Red Sox in the regular-season finale. As the team faces Boston for the first time since Andino's big hit, it says its focus is on 2012.
New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has begun the reconstruction of his front office, announcing the hiring of a new amateur scouting director Monday while re-assigning pro scouting director Lee MacPhail IV, one of the top lieutenants in the club's previous regime.
With a win against Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, the Orioles will finish with a winning record in September for a second consecutive season. They are 14-13 entering the season finale. A season ago, the Orioles went 34-23 after Buck Showalter became manager, including a 17-13 record after August 31. That strong finish had the fan base fired up this spring, and many vocal fans predicted big things -- you know, a winning record -- after the Orioles acquired Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds.