BOSTON - For the first 11 innings, no one in the top third of the Baltimore Orioles lineup could produce a hit. Finally, in the top of the 12th, the Orioles got one when they needed it most.
Chris Davis, who had been 0-for-5, drove a single up the middle on a 1-and-2 pitch from Franklin Morales, scoring two runs and giving the O's a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox.
Boston had put the leadoff man on base in the ninth, 10th and 11th inning, but came up empty-handed each time. The Sox stranded nine for the game. The Red Sox could have clinched a playoff spot with a victory. After Cleveland's loss in Kansas City, Boston's magic number was reduced to 1. They'll get another shot in the series finale Thursday night.
The Red Sox's magic number to clinch the A.L. East title is 3.
The Sox broke through in the sixth when Mike Napoli launched a blast into the center field bleachers for his sixth homer in the past 13 games, tying the score at 3.
The Orioles bunched their hits together off Peavy and used three straight -- after two were out -- in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead. The big hit was a double to center by Matt Wieters, his second in as many innings.
Peavy had retired the first nine hitters he faced and didn't allow a base hit until the fifth when the Orioles used three hits to score.
Valencia singled and came around to score on a double to center by Wieters. After a groundout moved Wieters over, Brian Roberts lined a double to center, scoring Wieters and tying the game.
For the second straight night, the Red Sox scored in the first inning and used the long ball to do it.
After a one-out single by Shane Victorino, David Ortiz turned on a pitch and drove it deep into the right field seats for his 28th homer of the season, spotting Peavy a 2-0 lead.
STAR OF THE GAME: Chris Davis
On Tuesday, Davis helped the Orioles win with his power, smacking his 51st homer of the season. On Wednesday, it was a ground ball single -- but it came at the right time, in the top of the 12th inning, with the bases loaded, scoring two runs which made the difference.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Gausman
Gausman came on after the Red Sox had tied the score in the sixth and retired the next six hitters over two innings, five of them by strikeouts, buying the Orioles time.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Stephen Drew
Twice in the last three innings, Drew came to the plate with the potential winning run on base. In the ninth, he hit into a force
play, wiping out the lead runner at second. In the 11th, with runners at first and second and one out, he hit into inning-ending double play.
TURNING POINT: The Red Sox already led 2-0 when they loaded the bases in the third with no out. Incredibly, they couldn't manage a single run out of the oportunity, setting the stage for more squanders with runners on base later in the game. Had the Sox gotten a hit in the third, they may have put the game out of reach early.
BY THE NUMBERS: In 12 innings, the Red Sox collected only one walk -- and that one -- to Will Middlebrooks -- was intentional -- in the 11th inning.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Nothing comes easy in Major League Baseball, [especially] the A.L. [East]. But we're going to grind it out.'' --Jake Peavy.