Fatigue no factor in Sox’ spirited win
BALTIMORE - The Red Sox arrived at their hotel just after 6 a.m. yesterday, a long night’s journey into day having started in Florida with a 16-inning victory against the Rays.
Baseball rarely offers any rest for the weary. So after a quick nap, the Red Sox reported to Camden Yards to face the Orioles last night.
“Whatever time you get in, it doesn’t matter. We’re fine,’’ manager Terry Francona said before the game. “It’s not like we all need that much beauty sleep anyway.’’
Apparently not. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Darnell McDonald drove in three runs each as the Sox blasted the Orioles, 15-10, before a crowd of 27,924.
The Sox survived an erratic performance by starter Tim Wakefield with a torrent of of fense. They had 16 hits, including home runs by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh Reddick.
Trailing, 7-6, after the fifth inning, the Sox scored one run in the seventh and eight in the eighth to win for the ninth time in their last 10 games.
The 15 runs were one off their season high. Dan Wheeler (2-1) was the winner, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Wakefield.
Pedroia had a two-run double to give the Red Sox the lead in the eighth. He was 2 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. He has 23 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs in his last 32 games, hitting .379 in that stretch.
It was Pedroia who had won the game against the Rays about 20 hours earlier with an RBI single. The double, like the single, was to the opposite field. It came off Mark Worrell, a righthander with a funky sidearm delivery.
“It’s tough. I was tired and I’m sure everyone else was,’’ Pedroia said. “We’re just all trying to win the game. That’s what we get paid to do. We’re trying to go play the game right and whatever situation comes up in the game, we have to respond to it.’’
Once they had the lead, the Sox poured it on against the leaky Baltimore bullpen. Youkilis had a two-run single, Carl Crawford an RBI single, and McDonald a three-run double. By the end of the eighth, the stands held predominantly Red Sox fans.
Crawford was 2 for 5 with two runs in his return from the disabled list. That his strained left hamstring has healed was obvious when he scored from first on McDonald’s double.
“That pretty much tested everything,’’ Crawford said. “I feel good.’’
The Sox have won seven straight against the Orioles, scoring 61 runs in the process. At 58-36, the Sox are challenging the 59-36 Phillies for the best record in baseball.
The outburst last night came without David Ortiz, who started a three-game suspension for his role in a brawl between the Sox and Orioles earlier this month.
“This is an amazing team,’’ Wheeler said. “One way or another, our lineup scores a lot of runs.’’
That’s what made it a tough night for Wakefield, who took a 6-2 lead into the fifth. But he could not get through the inning and was denied his 199th career win.
Wakefield had retired seven in a row entering the fifth and struck out Felix Pie to start the inning. But the knuckleball got past Saltalamacchia and Pie was safe at first on the passed ball.
Wakefield struck out Robert Andino, then allowed a home run to left field by J.J. Hardy, who earlier in the day agreed on a three-year contract extension.
Nick Markakis grounded to first for the second out. But the third out eluded Wakefield.
Adam Jones homered deep to left, Crawford giving a cursory glance as the ball soared over his head. Matt Wieters (single), Derrek Lee (single), Mark Reynolds (walk), and Nolan Reimold (two-run double) all reached before Francona took Wakefield out of the game.
Because of the passed ball, just three of the seven runs allowed by Wakefield were earned. But the 4 2/3 innings were his fewest in a start since he went 4 1/3 against Minnesota May 6, and he gave up nine hits.
Wakefield, who had flown ahead of the team to get a full night of sleep, was disappointed.
“I pride myself on going deeper than that,’’ he said.
Wheeler stabilized things after Wakefield’s shaky performance. He had not pitched on Sunday and came to the park yesterday expecting he would be needed.
“There was no question. There were a couple of guys that weren’t available,’’ he said. “There was a pretty good chance no matter what the score was that I was going to be out there. I was preparing for that all day.’’
The Sox tied the game in the seventh. Ellsbury singled, took second when Pedroia walked, and scored on a single by Youkilis. That set up the decisive eighth inning.
“We’re all happy we won,’’ Pedroia said. “Now we can get some rest.’’