BALTIMORE (AP) — It’s tough enough to beat the Boston Red Sox these days. Give them an extra out to work with, and the task becomes even more difficult.
Boston scored five unearned runs in the sixth inning after a throwing error by first baseman Chris Davis and rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer for the Red Sox, who will seek to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday. Boston pulled five games ahead of second-place Toronto in the AL East and six in front of Baltimore with 10 games remaining.
The Red Sox trailed 1-0 in the sixth before Davis’ two-out miscue turned the game around.
“We were given a gift,” Boston manager John Farrell said, “and we did take every advantage of that extra out.”
Clay Buchholz (8-10) allowed one run and three hits over seven innings for the Red Sox. Boston’s seven-game winning streak, which began with a sweep of the Yankees, is its longest since an identical run early in the 2014 season.
The loss kept Baltimore a game behind the Blue Jays for the top AL wild card. The Orioles have lost five of seven, all at home, and scored only nine runs in their last five games.
“They’ll get it going here,” manager Buck Showalter said. “If we can get in, I feel real good about this group.”
Boston rallied against All-Star reliever Brad Brach, who replaced Ubaldo Jimenez (7-12) with two on and one out in the sixth. Aaron Hill hit a dribbler in front of the mound and beat the throw to first base following a miscommunication between Brach and catcher Matt Wieters.
That loaded the bases for Jackie Bradley Jr., who struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Sandy Leon then hit a sharp grounder toward first base at Davis, who rushed an off-balance throw that whisked past Brach, allowing two runs to score.
“Obviously just didn’t make a very good throw on it,” Davis said. “Probably a ball I could’ve stayed back on and just gone to the bag, but I just reacted and when I went to throw, it just kind of stuck in my hand.”
Said Brach: “I was just heading over to the bag, and when I picked up (sight) of the ball it was just coming a little hard to me and a little bit out of my reach.”
Benintendi hit the next pitch over the wall in right field.
“It’s frustrating when they don’t get a ball past first base, 90 feet away, and two runs score,” Brach said. “And obviously I need to make a better pitch on the next batter.”
That all but assured the Red Sox their 12th win in 15 games. They have also won seven of eight on the road.
After Boston loaded the bases in the first inning but failed to score, the Orioles capitalized on the same situation in the third when Adam Jones hit a sacrifice fly.
The Red Sox again filled the bases in the fourth before Leon bounced into a 3-6-1 double play.
The next time Boston loaded the bases, two innings later, the Red Sox finally came through — albeit with a little help from Davis.
Red Sox: Benintendi is the latest young player to come through for the Red Sox down the stretch. The rookie slugged his second homer and had a season-high three RBIs. “For a young kid that steps into this pennant race, he’s responded very well,” Farrell said.
Orioles: Trey Mancini, the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year, lined out as a pinch hitter.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was back in the lineup after being held out Tuesday to get treatment on his left knee. . 1B Hanley Ramirez is dealing with a sore left shoulder and got the night off. He is expected to return Thursday. . RHP Steven Wright (shoulder) threw from 120 feet at the team’s minor league facility in Fort Myers, Florida. He could throw a bullpen session this weekend.
Orioles: OF Steve Pearce underwent successful surgery on his forearm Wednesday.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (16-8, 3.91 ERA) brings a seven-game winning streak into the series finale.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.72) attempts to reach a career-high in wins and keep Baltimore afloat in the AL East.
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