Red Sox Laugh Last: Orioles Swept Out Of Fenway Park

BOSTON, MA - JULY 10: Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammate Adrian Gonzalez #28 after Youkilis hit a home run against the Baltimore Orioles on July 10, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

There was a lot of talking coming from the Orioles these past couple of days. Why, Adam Jones was just telling Craig Tatum about all the times his Orioles have come into Fenway Park and beaten the Red Sox (the excellent Red Sox Stats tells us that number is...seven), and that it was just a matter of doing it one time.

They'll have to wait September for their next shot, because there was nothing doing this time around. 

Oh, sure, they beat Kyle Weiland up pretty badly. After a walk, a homer, and a ground rule double with one out in the second, the Orioles took advantage of four singles--three of the infield variety (one of them that should 100% have been an error on Marco Scutaro, who flipped the ball to second where the aforementioned Mr. Jones slid in safe instead of going to first for the easy out on Vlad Guerrero)--to make it a six-run inning and take a 6-2 lead.

But that lead only counts if you don't consider the fact that the Sox hadn't had their half of the frame yet. Because as soon as they did, they answered right back, scoring four runs on three homers--one each from Marco Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis--to tie the game at six a piece.

Things settled down from there, despite starting pitcher Kyle Weiland and Mike Gonzalez getting tossed along with their managers for hitting Vlad Guerrero and pitching behind David Ortiz respectively. The Red Sox scored once in the fourth on a bases loaded walk from David Ortiz, and again in the seventh on a Jacoby Ellsbury base knock to take an 8-6 lead they would not give up.

One contribution that must be acknowledged came from Alfredo Aceves. While Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon also contributed scoreless frames, Aceves went above-and-beyond the call today. Entering the game with men on first and third and nobody out, Sox fans had basically already given up on their one-run lead and were just hoping the run at first wouldn't score.

But Aceves came in, brought the count to 2-2 on Matt Wieters, and then struck him out on a 91 MPH cutter. And, four pitches after falling behind 2-0 to Derrek Lee, down went the Orioles first baseman on strikes as well. One fly ball out later, and the inning was over with the lead intact. Aceves finished off two more frames before handing the ball over to the back end of the pen without having allowed a single baserunner.

That's it for the first half, folks! Your Boston Red Sox are sitting in first place in the American League East with a one-game lead over the Yankees, and have built their playoff spot a rather comfortable six-game cushion. 

Now it's time to get healthy and really take this thing over.

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