BOSTON (AP) - The Baltimore Orioles are enjoying playing the role of spoiler in the American League playoff races.
``We ain't coming out here to lose. We're coming out here to just play ball, you know?' second baseman Robert Andino said Tuesday night after his three-run double off Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth inning lifted the last-place Orioles to a 7-5 win over the contending Boston Red Sox. ``Just go out there and go forward. We've got nothing to lose, so we just go out there and have fun.'
The win was Baltimore's second in the first three games of this series, which ends Wednesday night. But the Red Sox aren't the first strong team to struggle against the Orioles this month.
Starting on Sept. 7, with a win over New York, Baltimore is 8-3 against the Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Red Sox, all teams in the playoff hunt.
``Just the emotion of the games, I think, plays well for us,' Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. ``We kind of, more than anything, just have some envy. At some point we want to be in their position.'
Andino, whose 13-pitch at-bat against starter Erik Bedard resulted in a single in a four-run third, fell behind Papelbon 0-2 with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth. He worked the count to 3-2 and then lined the ball down the right field line to clear the bases with his third hit of the game.
``He's a tough pitcher. We all know who Papelbon is,' Andino said. ``You just try to get on top of a pitch and just put it in play. Three-and-two I knew he had to throw a strike so I was just trying to put the ball in play and it came out to our advantage.'
Andino got the big hit, but it was six innings of scoreless relief by the Baltimore bullpen that Showalter saw as the key - JoJo Reyes coming on in the fourth and throwing three scoreless innings, with five strikeouts.
``I'm just real proud of our bullpen,' Showalter said. ``A lot of big outs along the way. It just gives you a chance to roll the dice late in the game and at this level that's all you can ask.'
Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds, both coming back from injuries, combined to go 5 for 9, with Reynolds driving in two runs.
The Red Sox seemed headed for a three-game, wild-card lead over Tampa Bay, which lost to the New York Yankees 5-0 on Tuesday. But their struggles continued as they fell to 4-13 since leading the Rays by nine games on Sept. 3. Boston has seven games remaining and Tampa Bay has nine.
Willie Eyre (2-1) got the win and Jim Johnson picked up his eighth save in 13 opportunities. Daniel Bard (2-9) had runners at first and second with one out when he was replaced by Papelbon.
Papelbon, who had gone 21 games since last allowing a run on July 16 and last had a blown save on May 9, struck out Chris Davis for the second out. Then Nolan Reimold singled to short left field, loading the bases, and Andino doubled down the right-field line for his third hit of the game.
The Red Sox wrap up a the series with the Orioles on Wednesday night before playing their last six on the road, three each against the New York Yankees and Baltimore.
Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs with a two-run homer and a double for the Red Sox.
They went ahead 1-0 in the first on consecutive doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez.
But Baltimore scored four runs in the third when Bedard threw 51 pitches and retired just two batters. With one out, Andino singled and scored on Nick Markakis' two-out double. Vladimir Guerrero then hit a liner to right fielder Josh Reddick, who misjudged it by taking a few steps in then had it go off his glove for a two-base error as he went back, allowing Markakis to score.
After walks to Matt Wieters and Jones loaded the bases, Reynolds hit a two-run double.
The Red Sox cut the lead to 4-3 in the third on a double by Pedroia and Gonzalez's 27th homer of the season.
They went ahead with two runs in the fourth, helped by an error. With no outs, Marco Scutaro walked, Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled and Mike Aviles singled in the tying run. Jacoby Ellsbury's single loaded the bases.
After Pedroia struck out, Gonzalez grounded to first baseman Reynolds, who threw home for the force then let the return throw go off his glove. That allowed Gonzalez, who was several feet from the base when the ball got to Reynolds, to reach safely and Aviles to score the tie-breaking run.
Notes: Showalter was ejected for arguing a third-strike call against Weiters in the fifth. ... Ellsbury's single in the fourth was his 200th hit. It came one day after Gonzalez had five hits to reach 203 for the season. It's the third time the Red Sox have had two players with 200 hits in the same season - Wade Boggs (240) and Bill Buckner (201) in 1985 and Boggs (207) and Jim Rice (200) in 1986. ... Guerrero and Jones were thrown out trying to steal in the fourth by Saltalamacchia. ... Josh Beckett (13-5) pitches for Boston against Tommy Hunter (4-4) on Wednesday night. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz reported no problems after throwing a 32-pitch simulated game on Tuesday. He hasn't pitched since June 16 because of a stress fracture in his back and hopes to pitch if the Red Sox reach the playoffs.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved