By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Jacoby Ellsbury hit an inside-the-park homer and
Conor Jackson added a grand slam to cap a much-needed offensive
outburst that helped the Boston Red Sox split their doubleheader
with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday and stop, for now, their slide
in the AL wild-card race.
The Red Sox won the late game 18-9 after losing the opener 6-5
for their 12th loss in 15 games, trimming their lead over Tampa Bay
to 11/2 games in the chase for the wild card. The Rays were idle,
with a four-game series against the New York Yankees starting
Night game starter John Lackey fell behind 3-0, but the Red Sox
took a 4-2 lead after one, made it 6-3 in the second and 11-5 after
three innings. Then Lackey gave up another run in the fourth and
two more in the fifth before Scott Atchison (1-0) came on for a
one-pitch double play to end the inning.
In all, Atchison pitched to three batters and got two double
plays, while also dropping a throw covering first for an error.
Orioles starter Brian Matusz (1-8) got just five outs, allowing
six runs and six hits.
Boston slugger Adrian Gonzalez reached base seven straight times
in the doubleheader, Marco Scutaro had six hits and Dustin Pedroia
drove in five runs on the day. Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer in
the nightcap that erased the early deficit and gave the Red Sox the
lead for good.
But Lackey still couldn’t get through the fifth. He has allowed
25 earned runs in 24 2-3 innings in his last five starts, with
three losses and two no-decisions.
The Red Sox eliminated any doubt with seven runs in the seventh,
the first when Ellsbury hit a long fly ball that bounced off the
railing of the Red Sox bullpen wall in right-center and caromed
toward left field. Two fielders gave chase, but Ellsbury circled
the bases and scored standing up.
The next five batters reached safely before Jackson homered over
the Green Monster to make it 18-9.
Jeremy Guthrie (9-17) pitched the last-place Orioles to the win
in the day game. Robert Andino and Nolan Reimold hit back-to-back
homers into the Green Monster seats off Kyle Weiland (0-3) as the
Orioles, who had been outscored 40-20 at Fenway Park this year, won
in Boston for the first time in six games.
The Red Sox winnowed a four-run deficit to 6-4 in the fifth
inning and appeared to score another, but David Ortiz’s liner down
the right-field line was ruled foul by first-base umpire Mike
Replays showed it caromed off the lower part of a short wall in
fair territory near the Pesky Pole.
“That’s the breaks of the game,” Pedroia said. “We’ve played
a hundred-something games. We’re not going to say the season’s over
because an umpire missed a call.”
Boston, which lost three of four games against Tampa Bay last
weekend, led the Rays by nine on Sept 3. The Red Sox have dropped
15 of 20 since they held a 11/2-game edge over New York atop the AL
East on Aug. 30.
The Red Sox have six games remaining against Baltimore and three
in New York against the Yankees. The Rays have 10 to play, seven of
them against the Yankees.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wasn’t ready to
put INF Mark Reynolds back in the lineup after he missed Sunday’s
game. Reynolds was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Saturday. …
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said OF J.D. Drew may see a doctor
soon to check the “stability” of a broken middle finger. Drew has
been sidelined since July 20 with a left shoulder injury and broke
his finger on a rehab assignment. … The first game was a makeup
of a May 17 rainout. … Gonzalez went 0 for 12 in the Tampa Bay
series and made outs in his first two at-bats Monday before
reaching on a double, four singles and two walks. … Boston’s 20
hits and 18 runs in the late game tied season highs. … The Red
Sox committed three errors in the late game.
AP freelancers Ken Powtak and Doug Alden contributed to this
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)