Doubront, Red Sox slow down Orioles
Sunday at Fenway Park, Boston did what it could to damage Baltimore's 2012 Cinderella run.
Back-to-back doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross leading off the eighth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Orioles.
Baltimore, finishing off its first winning season since 1997, remained a game behind the Yankees in the American League East race. The loss, which prevented the Orioles from sweeping the three-game series, snapped a six-game winning streak.
The doubles came off losing reliever Luis Ayala (5-5), while Junichi Tazawa (1-1) worked a perfect eighth for the win and Andrew Bailey pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth for his sixth save.
Rookie third baseman Manny Machado drove in the first Baltimore run and made a diving play to take a double away from Pedro Ciriaco with a man on first and two out in the Boston seventh. But he came up with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth and forced what would have been the tying run at the plate with a fielder's choice groundout. Pinch-hitter Ryan Flaherty then took a called third strike to end the game.
Young starters Felix Doubront (career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings for Boston) and Chris Tillman (six innings) each allowed just one run, but both were gone by the time the game was decided.
The Red Sox threatened in the first and second innings and took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Ross, who earlier took a home run away from Adam Jones, singled and James Loney walked.
With one out, Danny Valencia hit a potential double play grounder to short, but second baseman Robert Andino's relay was low and wide and, when the ball bounced away from Mark Reynolds, Ross took off from third and beat the hurried throw home.
The Orioles, as they have been doing a lot, came right back, but could have scored more than just the tying run in the fifth.
Lew Ford opened with Baltimore's first hit, a single through the middle, and rode to third on Chris Davis' double. Machado's bloop hit tied the game, but Doubront struck out the next two batters and got J.J. Hardy to ground to first...