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Red Sox 8, Orioles 1: Sox leave no doubts before the rains arrive

The Red Sox were only given six innings to work with as the rains hit Baltimore in force. But they made it pretty clear in the time they did have that this was their win.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles have kind of been the white whale for the Red Sox this year. Two series losses, one series split where 2-0 turned into 0-2. A hot start that mostly left the Red Sox second best even during their own early surge, and longevity enough to stay ahead as the Red Sox flagged in the middle. They've pretty consistently been one step ahead.

After two big wins, though, the Sox have caught up in the season series, and now left them one step behind, at least for today.

The Red Sox would take the lead first, but were prevented from taking real advantage of Dylan Bundy's early struggles in the second. After Bundy hit Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt lanced a two-out single into right field, giving Travis Shaw a chance to put the Sox ahead. While it's been a struggle for Shaw these last few months, he managed to flip a fastball  safely over J.J. Hardy at short and into left field for an RBI single. A walk for Andrew Benintendi would load the bases up, and Dustin Pedroia nearly cracked the game open early, but his line drive to left was swept up by a diving Hyun-Soo Kim to keep the Sox in check.

When David Price proceeded to surrender a game-tying homer to the second batter he faced in the bottom of the inning, it seemed like Kim's big play would have a real chance to haunt the Red Sox.

Instead, the lineup went right back to work, again with two outs. This time, though, it came noticeably after Bundy had taken a tumble off the mound trying to field a weak ground ball from David Ortiz, bringing out the trainers. He stayed in the game, but walked Mookie Betts, bringing Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate. In fairness to Bundy, the fastball he gave Bradley was outside, right about where Matt Wieters set up. But Bradley reached out and showed off that surprising power of his, lifting the ball to center field and out for a two-run shot to make it 3-1.

As Price settled in, the Sox kept pushing. The fifth saw Betts on base again, and while Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn't bring him in, this time Sandy Leon was all-too-happy to take his place, utterly demolishing an inside changeup that probably came closer to knocking out a window in the B&O Warehouse than it came to landing in any fan's hands. With Price working around an error from Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox had gotten far enough to make the game official.

And that was important given that the rain started coming down before the fifth was over. Still, the umpires weren't ready to call for the tarp, and so the Sox kept plugging away. With Tyler Wilson in the game, the Sox got a one-out single from Xander Bogaerts to set the table, then pushed three more runs across on hits from David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., with Bradley getting caught between second and third to effectively end the threat. But with 13 hits, an 8-1 lead and--after Price stranded a leadoff single--a rain delay, the Red Sox weren't about to worry about one baserunner lost.

The umpires had to wait an hour because for some reason MLB rules have not evolved to take radar into account, but at long last they would acknowledge that, no, there was no point waiting around to try and pick up an 8-1 game for the last few innings at 1 AM.

The Red Sox will now head to Detroit with precious little time for sleep. That's the bad news. The good news is that they'll do so with a six-game winning streak, in sole possession of the first wild card slot and second place in the AL East thanks only to the Yankees being just completely useless against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox seem to have finally righted the ship.