BOSTON -- On a day when Josh Beckett was bidding to become the fourth Boston Red Sox pitcher to win his first eight starts, Jeremy Guthrie, the other starter, dominated one of the league's best teams for 8 1/3 innings.
Guthrie had allowed no earned runs and only three hits and two walks when Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo surprisingly decided to take him out after catcher Ramon Hernandez's error. Relievers Danys Baez and Chris Ray then coughed up a five-run lead, and the Orioles lost a stunning 6-5 game. After the game, Guthrie seemed annoyed when asked if the loss took away from his individual performance.
"I did get the results that I wanted," said Guthrie, who got in the rotation only after the injury to Jaret Wright. "You can't look at it like that. Those kind of questions and those kinds of feelings are not what you need around a team that's trying to build and succeed. It shouldn't be viewed like that. And if it is, then it's the mistake of the person viewing it like that."
In his third start of the season and the fourth of his career, Guthrie - once a highly rated prospect whom the Orioles picked up on waivers from the Cleveland Indians this offseason - rarely was in trouble. Impeccably locating a fastball that got up to as high as 97 mph and mixing in the occasional off-speed pitch, he needed just 67 pitches to get through the sixth inning.
"As the game progressed, you could see his confidence grow," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I don't think he threw a pitch in the middle of the plate the last four innings, so you're looking at velocity with movement out of the middle of the plate. ... I know he's not been starting a lot, but that's one of the better-pitched games we've seen in a long time."
While Ray has been highly scrutinized for his struggles against the New York Yankees, it may not to be too early to suggest the Red Sox also have his number. Since taking over the closer's role, he is 41 of 49 in save opportunities, with three of those blown saves, including two this year, coming against the Red Sox.
He did save Game 1 of the series, but in his other two chances against Boston, Ray was beaten by Wily Mo Pena's grand slam April 26 and again yesterday, when he allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks in one-third of an inning.
"I beat myself," he said. "I wasn't making my pitches. They essentially got one hit off me and scored five runs."
Mora day-to-day, Huff plays third
X-rays taken on the left hand of Melvin Mora were negative, though the third baseman sat out yesterday's game. Mora, who has been diagnosed with a bruised left palm, said he is hoping to play in tonight's series opener in Toronto.
"I don't think I can hit a 99 mph fastball inside today. I can hit a knuckleball," said Mora, who received treatment before the game. "I'll be there tomorrow. I'm pretty sure."
In his absence, Aubrey Huff started at third base. Entering this season, Huff had played 313 games at third. But yesterday was his first start there as an Oriole. He handled two ground balls and a pop-up cleanly.
Williamson gets call
Scott Williamson was sitting on a clubhouse couch before yesterday's game when Perlozzo tapped him on the shoulder and told him he was activated from the disabled list. It was news that Williamson, who hadn't pitched since April 23 because of tightness in his right triceps, was waiting to hear.
"It feels like the first day or something," said Williamson, who is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in six appearances. "I am a little nervous, but I am excited to get back out there. ... I just have to build back my arm strength. It's hard to do at the big league level."
Around the horn
Seven of the nine Orioles in the lineup used pink bats yesterday in honor of Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness. Brian Roberts' bat had his mother's name inscribed on it. ... Miguel Tejada played in his 1,118th straight game yesterday, passing Hall of Famer Billy Williams for the fifth-longest streak of all time.