By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Chris Davis hit his 30th home run, rookie Mann
Machado lined a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning and the
Baltimore Orioles climbed into a tie atop the AL East by defeating
the Boston Red Sox 4-3 Saturday night.
After finishing in the division cellar in each of the previous
four seasons, Baltimore (91-67) is now in first place with the New
York Yankees. Both teams have four games left.
The Yankees lost to Toronto before this game started, so the
Orioles knew they would earn a share of the lead with a win.
Baltimore went ahead 3-0 in the fourth, then let Boston pull even
before Machado homered, a liner into the second row of the
left-field seats off Felix Doubront (11-10).
That was enough to provide the Orioles with yet another tight
win, their trademark in this unimaginable season. Baltimore is 28-9
in one-run games and 72-0 when leading after seven innings.
Tommy Hunter (7-8) pitched two innings, Brian Matusz and Darren
O’Day shared the eighth and Jim Johnson got three outs for his 49th
A sellout crowd of 46,311, a majority of them clad in Oriole
orange, brought Camden Yards back to a time when the home team was
a force in the AL East and the ballpark was packed on a nightly
The fans got to a cheer a Baltimore great before the first
pitch, too. A statue of Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson
was unveiled during a ceremony in the flag court beyond the
The Orioles’ goal is to capture the division, but if they win
two more games they are assured of their first trip to the playoffs
since 1997 _ their last winning season before this year. In
addition, Baltimore now is 41-27 in the division and New York is
37-31, so if Baltimore wins one more game, it will have home-field
advantage if there’s a playoff to decide the AL East title.
In addition to hitting two homers and limiting Boston to five
hits, Baltimore also played well defensively. Machado, the third
baseman, ranged far to his right in the fourth inning to start a
double play, and first baseman Mark Reynolds tumbled over the tarp
roll and got wedged behind it after catching a foul pop. Endy
Chavez, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, made a
sparking diving catch of a sinking liner to right field.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for the Red Sox, who fell into
last place with their 15th loss in 21 games. Boston has not
finished in the cellar since 1992.
Doubront allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in
seven innings. He struck out 10, walked one and hit a batter.
Red Sox leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury went 1 for 4 after being
sidelined since Sept. 20 with an unspecified injury. Ellsbury has
only four homers and 26 RBIs after finishing second in AL MVP
voting last season.
“I didn’t see him play that way this year,” Boston manager
Bobby Valentine said. “He did not quite hit his stride this
Orioles rookie Steve Johnson took a three-hitter and a 3-2 lead
into the sixth inning but was lifted after giving up a single and a
walk. Hunter got Dustin Pedroia to hit a force at second, but a run
came home when Cody Ross hit a sacrifice fly to right field that
Davis dropped after Adam Jones drifted over from center and called
for the ball. Hunter avoided further damage by getting Mauro Gomez
to bounce into a double play.
Baltimore went up 1-0 in the second inning when Machado singled
in a run after Doubront hit Davis with a pitch and Reynolds reached
on a slow roller to third.
In the fourth, after Jones reached on a throwing error by
shortstop Mike Aviles, Davis drove a 1-0 pitch far over the
right-field wall for a 3-0 lead.
Saltalamacchia hit his 25th homer in the fifth after Gomez drew
a leadoff walk.
NOTES: The Robinson statue stands alongside the team’s five
other Hall of Fame members, all of whom were in attendance: Earl
Weaver, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
… Joe Saunders will pitch for the Orioles in the series finale
Sunday. Zach Stewart will pitch for Boston. … Baltimore claimed
OF Steve Pearce off waivers from the Yankees. He will join the team
in Tampa Bay on Monday. … Boston has lost 17 of 24 to Baltimore
since September 2011.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)