On a night when Jon Lester did not have his best stuff, the Red Sox' bats came alive to give him all the support he needed.
Against a team he traditionally dominated, Lester was shaky, and often seemed bothered by the condition of the mound. Commentator Dennis Eckersley observed he looked generally uncomfortable throughout much of his start. While giving up 10 hits including 2 homers would usually result in a few more runs, Lester managed to avoid serious damage, letting only 3 Orioles cross home plate and recording the quality start.
David Hernandez, the Orioles starter, had a pretty similar night. 7 hits, 3 walks, and a home run added up to 3 runs over 6 innings. But it wasn't the Orioles' starter that would give up the game, but their bullpen and defense. Matt Albers would give up 2 runs while recording only 1 out. Alberto Castillo fared even worse, facing 3 batters and giving up a hit to each. Finally, Bob McCrory would put the game well out of reach with a little help from Ty Wigginton, whose error would allow Victor Martinez to reach base in the 8th. 4 batters, 2 homers, and 5 runs later the Red Sox were firmly in control.
The Sox' offense came from all kinds of places, with every starter recording a hit. Josh Reddick put the Sox up early 2-1 with a 2-run homer in his first at bat, David Ortiz had 2 doubles, Mike Lowell went 3-4, and JD Drew went 3-5 with a double and a 3-run shot. Even Brian Anderson managed to knock one out.
There was some mild drama in the 9th inning as Manny Delcarmen would fail to record an out, offering up 2 homers to the first 2 batters he faced and then walking the next 2 men. Ramon Ramirez would come in to clean up after him, getting a pop out and a double play while giving up only a walk.
Red Sox Nation will get its second look at the recuperated Daisuke Matsuzaka tomorrow after a good start against the Angels. The Orioles counter with Jason Berken, who Sox fans might remember for his last performance against the team when he gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs before exiting with 1 out in the first on August 2nd. Hopefully the Boston batters will have as much success when they go for the sweep tomorrow.