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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Red Sox Can't Clinch A Playoff Spot (again) but Indians lose, making Boston's Magic Number one

For the second night in a row, the Red Sox had a chance to clinch a playoff spot (somewhere they haven't been in the last four years) but they couldn't do it as the resilient Orioles (81-70 overall, 39-37 away) outscored Boston (92-61 overall, 50-27 home) 5-3 in 12 innings. Baltimore has won six of their last seven series at Fenway and they are 9-6 against the Red Sox this season, the only MLB team with a winning record against MLB's top squad. Boston lost consecutive games for the first time in over a month (August 15 & 16).

The Royals held up their end of the bargain as they beat the Indians 7-2. That leaves Cleveland half a game outside of the Wild Card race and Baltimore is only one game behind Texas (2nd Wild Card). Boston didn't deserve to win as they grounded into four double plays and left nine runners on base. Enough with this charade, I can't imagine how much champagne is sitting on ice in Boston's locker room.

The Red Sox handed Jake Peavy (7 IP, 3 ER, 6 hits, 8 Ks) a 2-0 lead in the first on David Ortiz's two-run homer, his 28th of the season, but he couldn't hold it. Matt Wieters (run, 2 doubles) and Brian Roberts (2 hits, walk run) each had RBI doubles in the fifth as the O's tied it at two. Wieters added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to give Baltimore a 3-2 lead. That turned out to be short-lived as Mr. September Mike Napoli crushed a solo homer to center, his 23rd of the season to knot it at three.

Baltimore used six pitchers because they need to win every game they can for the remainder of this season. Rookie Kevin Gausman (2 IP, 5 Ks) looks destined to be a star for the O's. Things got wacky (as they usually do) in extra innings: Boston put the lead runner on in the 10th and 11th but they couldn't score. Chris Davis came through with the game's biggest hit, a two-run single that squeaked through the middle of the infield in the twelfth.

Jim Johnson pitched for the second night in a row but that didn't seem to faze him as he had a scoreless 12th inning for his 47th save of the season. Will Middlebrooks was 3-for-6 with a walk, Shane Victorino was 3-for-5 with a run and Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 6 with a double.

The Orioles go for the sweep tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) with their ace Chris Tillman (16-6) opposing John Lackey (9-12).

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