Sox get rough with Bedard, prove too tough for O's, 7-6

Starter allows six runs in 4 1/3 innings as Orioles' 3-game win streak ends

September 04, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard didn't lack for interventions last night. Players went to the mound for conferences, holding a glove in front of their faces so lips couldn't be read. Pitching coach Ray Miller made two visits, and he had nothing to hide.

Bedard needed more than sound advice and a constant flow of encouragement. He needed a soft spot in the Boston Red Sox's lineup.

Good luck finding it.

Kevin Millar hit a two-run homer off Bedard in the fourth inning to tie the game, a fortunate position for the Red Sox given a bunch of earlier mistakes, and they went ahead for good in the fifth then survived a late rally in a 7-6 victory over the Orioles at Fenway Park.

The Orioles scored twice in the fourth to hand Bedard a 3-1 lead, but he hasn't been the same pitcher since spraining a ligament in his left knee. He was 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA before going on the disabled list May 22, drawing consideration for the All-Star team. He's 1-5 with a 5.56 ERA since his return, the only win coming Aug. 9 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Bedard was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings, one of them scoring on Jorge Julio's wild pitch with the bases loaded. Appearing earlier than usual, Julio threw another wild pitch in the inning, after Millar increased the lead to 6-3 with a ground ball that might have started a double play if the runners hadn't moved up.

Gibbons homered for the fourth time in six games, giving him 21 this season. But the Orioles (64-71) couldn't build on a three-game winning streak, leaving them 3-2 on a road trip that concludes today. They're trying to win consecutive series for the first time since June.

An Edgar Renteria error in the ninth, on a ball that should have started a game-ending double play, preceded an RBI double by Brian Roberts. A walk loaded the bases with one out and Melvin Mora lifted a sacrifice fly, but Miguel Tejada flied out to end it.

David Ortiz hit his 37th homer in the seventh, leaving Julio bent at the waist as the ball sailed beyond the Red Sox's bullpen. Confused about his role, the one-time closer and set-up man went a career-high 2 2/3 innings.

Prone to long innings that lull his fielders to sleep, Bedard needed to pick up the pace all night. He threw 23 pitches in the first and got into trouble with one out when Renteria reached on an infield hit and Ortiz walked. Catcher Javy Lopez spoke with Bedard halfway between home plate and the mound, and shortstop Miguel Tejada called time to have a quick chat with the count 2-0 on Manny Ramirez.

Third baseman Melvin Mora went to the mound in the third inning before Renteria's sacrifice fly that scored Gabe Kapler and tied the game at 1. Miller made his first appearance in the fourth inning after Kevin Youkilis lined to left. The Red Sox weren't lacking in quality at-bats. Bedard wasn't lacking in conferences.

The Orioles gave him a 3-1 lead in the fourth, though the Red Sox were more generous.

Miguel Tejada blooped a double down the right field line against Matt Clement (13-3), with three Boston players converging on the ball. Kapler dived for it as Millar and Youkilis pulled up, and manager Terry Francona argued that it landed foul. But replays showed that first base umpire Chuck Meriwether made the correct call.

Gibbons followed with a sinking liner to left field. Ramirez appeared to make the catch, but the ball fell out of his glove as he reached for it with his bare hand. Tejada held at second base, and Francona lost another argument.

Javy Lopez singled to score Tejada, and Gibbons raced home when center fielder Johnny Damon overran the ball.

Bedard hadn't faced Boston since tossing four scoreless innings in relief last October after being pulled from the rotation following a Sept. 8 start. In four career appearances against the Red Sox, he has allowed 16 earned runs and 21 hits in 19 innings.

He was in constant trouble last night. Singles by Damon and Renteria in the fifth brought Tejada to the mound for another talk. Miller came out of the dugout after Ramirez's single scored the go-ahead run, and Perlozzo had the final word after Jason Varitek walked to load the bases with one out.

Orioles today

Opponent: Boston Red Sox

Site/Time: Boston/2:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/1090 AM

Starters: Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez (13-8, 4.85) vs. Red Sox's David Wells (11-6, 4.44)

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