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The Clutch Mart is Open! Victor Leads the Sox to a Win

Pinch hitting with 1 out and the bases loaded, all Victor Martinez needed to put the Sox on top was a sacrifice fly. Instead, he took the first pitch he saw —a fastball begging to be hit

—and smacked it to the foot of the monster for a bases clearing double.

Martinez' double capped another strong offensive night for the Red Sox, who managed 15 hits and 5 walks in the 7-5 win. In the first inning, Jason Bay put the Sox on top 2-0 with a 2-out base hit. Then, in the 4th, the Red Sox scored perhaps their most unusual run of the season. Mike Lowell reached first on an error after a low throw from 3rd baseman Melvin Mora bounced out of Ty Wigginton's glove, and then stole 2nd base as Varitek took a pitch in the dirt on a hit-and-run attempt. Varitek, 0-for-his-last-14, then doubled him in. The Sox would add another odd run in the 6th, then down 1, as Dustin Pedroia scored Joey Gathright (pinch running for Jason Varitek) from 3rd after bouncing a pitch off of pitcher Matt Albers. Every Sox starter recorded a hit except Alex Gonzalez.

Paul Byrd managed to keep the Sox in the game, dancing around 6 hits, 3 walks, and a ton of hard-hit balls to limit the Orioles to 2 runs over 5 innings. Manny Delcarmen pitched disastrously, loading the bases on 2 hits and his own fielding error before issuing a 4-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Brian Roberts. He recorded only 1 out. Ramon Ramirez allowed another of Delcarmen's runners to score on a single by Felix Pie before averting further harm by sitting down the next 2 batters on strikes. Billy Wagner had yet another 2 strike out inning in the 7th. Daniel Bard would strike out two, but allow the tying run to come to the plate by giving up a single and a walk before Jonathan Papelbon ended the 8th with a 1-pitch out. Paps would again induce some Drama, allowing a run to score in the 9th and again having the tying run come to the plate, but recorded the save on a Ty Wigginton pop-out.

The Sox stay 2 games up in the wild card race on the Texas Rangers, who blew out the Indians 10-0. Tampa Bay is coming to Boston for the two teams' final series of the season, while the Rangers host division rival Seattle.