BALTIMORE - Dustin Pedroia had one hit and scored one run in the Red Sox' 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
But he factored in mostly when he made an error and (almost) struck out.
Leading off the top of the fourth, Pedroia appeared to swing and miss at a pitch from Baltimore starter Freddy Garcia. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson indicated as much.
But somehow, Nelson came to the conclusion that Pedroia had tipped the pitch and when catcher Taylor Teagarden dropped it, Pedroia had another life.
"He foul tipped it,'' insisted John Farrell. "(Nelson) checked (the ball). For Pedey, a tremendous presence of mind.''
Except that Pedroia didn't tip the ball, and he never asked Nelson to check it.
"I've got to be honest with you,'' said Pedroia, "the last four or five games the ball looks like a baby aspirin coming at me. I thought I did hit it. I swung and felt something I said, 'I could have sworn I fouled that ball off.' And then I didn't, so that kind of shows how locked in I am at the plate. But it was a break for us.
''I just said, 'Thought I fouled that,' and (Nelson) said, 'Foul ball.' I didn't do anything. I thought I hit something. Maybe it was the ground, I don't know.''
Given a new life, Pedroia singled and came around to score two batters later when Mike Carp jacked a two-run homer to right. The inning kept going and the Sox got another run after hits from Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew.
Then, in the fifth inning, with a runner on first, Pedroia misplayed a ball by Nate McLouth that could have been a double play and gave the O's first-and-third with no out.
"He hit it with some topspin on it and it kind of hit the lip (of the infield grass) and stayed down,'' recounted Pedroia. "I thought it was going to stay down and it sped up. I was kind of in close, trying to turn two, and it just got by me.''
It was Pedroia's first error of the season in the 70th game and the first error he's made since Aug. 29, 2012, covering 97 games.
"That was one of the more surprising things I've ever seen on the field, I think,'' said starter John Lackey. "I told him I probably don't have to worry about seeing that again. I'll be gone before that happens again.''
Jarrod Saltalamacchia gunned down McLouth trying to steal and Lackey then got Manny Machado on a comebacker and Nick Markakis on a flyout.
"It was surprising,'' Lackey said of the error by Pedroia, ''but it's always satisfying to pick up a teammate and not let a guy score.''
* Andrew Bailey got his eighth save but it wasn't without its anxious moments for the Red Sox.
Bailey allowed a leadoff single to Adam Jones and after fanning Chris Davis, allowed a two-run homer to Matt Wieters, bringing the O's to within a run at 5-4.
He then allowed a single to right by J.J. Hardy putting the potential tying run at first and the potential winning run at the plate.
But Ryan Flaherty lined out to Shane Victorino in right, and when pinch-runner Alexi Casilla got a bad read on the ball and raced to third, he was doubled off at first for the game's final out.
''A little jumpy,'' said John Farrell in assessing Bailey. "When he comes to the plate too quick, it takes away from that second gear in his fastball, which he's been known for. That was the same situation again today.''
"I've just got to put a half to this little bad spell that I've been having,'' said Bailey. "I've been missing in bad spots and I've got to just focus on the glove more and throw better pitches.''
Of late, Bailey has been guilty of allowing the first hitter he faces to reach. It happened Saturday, and on Wednesday in St. Pete when he allowed a pinch-hit single to Sam Fuld, and on Monday, when he yielded a solo homer to Jose Lobaton.
"I get ahead of a guy and try to put him away,'' said Bailey, "and maybe waste one too many pitches and you end up in an even count. Then you're behind 3-and-2 and you've got to throw a strike. Maybe it's just making better pitches and missing better.''