BALTIMORE And on the third day, the Red Sox were finally the victors.
After taking gut punches in the first two games of the series against the Orioles, Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz both came through Thursday night in a 6-3 victory at Camden Yards.
Pedroia went 2-for-4 with an RBI and energized his teammates with his frenetic play in the field and running the bases while Buchholz continued to keep his teammates in a game that would have battered his fellow starting rotation mates. Buchholz (11-3) scattered eight hits and three walks in eight innings. He allowed three runs in the first two innings before settling into the game.
The seven strikeouts were also a clear sign of his dominant stuff while sewing his team-leading 11th win of the season, and his seventh win in his last eight decisions.
Those first two frames were a little rough as a two-run Adam Jones double in the first frame and a Mark Reynolds homer to start the second inning both greeted the Sox righthander. But he buckled down after that and allowed only two hits the rest of the way.
The Sox offense scratched for one run in the top of the second when a Scott Podsednik RBI single knocked in Nick Punto, and then the Boston bats pushed Chris Tillman out of the contest in the fifth inning. Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia got things going with a one-out single and double respectively, and then Crawford scored on a wild pitch.
That set things up for an Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly to center. Pedroia narrowly beat out a Jones' laser beam throw from the outfield. The Sox second baseman popped up, pumped his fist and seemed to energize the entire bench while exerting the energy of somebody playing for their reputation.
The sac fly tied things up and set the stage for a sixth-inning rally to win the game against reliever Luis Ayala. Podsednik started things off with a double and then moved to third after a fielders choice from Crawford.
Pedroia, Gonzalez and Cody Ross all slammed RBI singles to hand Boston a three-run lead before Gonzalez was gunned down at third after Pedroia crossed the plate with the sixth run. Ross ended up leading the Sox with three hits and was one of five Sox players with multi-hit efforts.
Alfredo Aceves closed things out for his 24th save and gave the Sox something to build on as they head into the Bronx for an urgent series against the hated Yankees.