BALTIMORE (AP) - Chris Davis hit his 30th home run, rookie Manny
Machado lined a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning and the Baltimore
Orioles climbed into a tie atop the AL East by defeating the Boston Red
Sox 4-3 Saturday night.
After finishing in the division cellar in
each of the previous four seasons, Baltimore (91-67) is now in first
place with the New York Yankees. Both teams have four games left.
Yankees lost to Toronto before this game started, so the Orioles knew
they would earn a share of the lead with a win. Baltimore went ahead 3-0
in the fourth, then let Boston pull even before Machado homered, a
liner into the second row of the left-field seats off Felix Doubront
That was enough to provide the Orioles with yet another
tight win, their trademark in this unimaginable season. Baltimore is
28-9 in one-run games and 72-0 when leading after seven innings.
Hunter (7-8) pitched two innings, Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day shared
the eighth and Jim Johnson got three outs for his 49th save.
sellout crowd of 46,311, a majority of them clad in Oriole orange,
brought Camden Yards back to a time when the home team was a force in
the AL East and the ballpark was packed on a nightly basis.
fans got to a cheer a Baltimore great before the first pitch, too. A
statue of Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson was unveiled during
a ceremony in the flag court beyond the center-field wall.
Orioles' goal is to capture the division, but if they win two more games
they are assured of their first trip to the playoffs since 1997 - their
last winning season before this year. In addition, Baltimore now is
41-27 in the division and New York is 37-31, so if Baltimore wins one
more game, it will have home-field advantage if there's a playoff to
decide the AL East title.
In addition to hitting two homers and
limiting Boston to five hits, Baltimore also played well defensively.
Machado, the third baseman, ranged far to his right in the fourth inning
to start a double play, and first baseman Mark Reynolds tumbled over
the tarp roll and got wedged behind it after catching a foul pop. Endy
Chavez, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, made a
sparking diving catch of a sinking liner to right field.
Saltalamacchia homered for the Red Sox, who fell into last place with
their 15th loss in 21 games. Boston has not finished in the cellar since
Doubront allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out 10, walked one and hit a batter.
Sox leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury went 1 for 4 after being sidelined
since Sept. 20 with an unspecified injury. Ellsbury has only four homers
and 26 RBIs after finishing second in AL MVP voting last season.
"I didn't see him play that way this year," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "He did not quite hit his stride this year."
rookie Steve Johnson took a three-hitter and a 3-2 lead into the sixth
inning but was lifted after giving up a single and a walk. Hunter got
Dustin Pedroia to hit a force at second, but a run came home when Cody
Ross hit a sacrifice fly to right field that Davis dropped after Adam
Jones drifted over from center and called for the ball. Hunter avoided
further damage by getting Mauro Gomez to bounce into a double play.
went up 1-0 in the second inning when Machado singled in a run after
Doubront hit Davis with a pitch and Reynolds reached on a slow roller to
In the fourth, after Jones reached on a throwing error by
shortstop Mike Aviles, Davis drove a 1-0 pitch far over the right-field
wall for a 3-0 lead.
Saltalamacchia hit his 25th homer in the fifth after Gomez drew a leadoff walk.