Red Sox - 002 302 010 - 8 11 0 Orioles - 100 201 021 - 7 13 0Third-string catcher Ryan Lavarnway, pressed into starting his first major league game behind the plate, with Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both hurt, hit two home runs -- the first two dongs of his major league career -- and drove in four runs. He also made a big play early on, gunning down Adam Jones trying to steal third in the second inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Marco Scutaro also went deep as Boston kept pace with the Rays, who beat the Yankees 5-3.
Boston and Tampa Bay are both 90-71, tied for the American League wild card. The fourth and final AL playoff team may be determined tomorrow night, or the matter may need to be settled in a one-game playoff game (4 PM) at Tropicana Field on Thursday.
Ellsbury's 32nd home run gave the Sox a 2-1 lead in the third. After singles by David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth, Lavarnway drilled Britton's full-count fastball to left-center, and Boston led 5-1.
Baltimore got two back right away on a two-run shot by Matt Wieters, but after Carl Crawford's one-out triple in the sixth, Scutaro hit a ball that just cleared the wall in left, to increase the Sox's lead to 7-3.
Bedard (3.1-5-3-3-6, 84) was pulled in the fourth, and Alfredo Aceves (3.2-3-1-0-1, 36) held the line until the eighth inning. Unfortunately, that was when the trouble began.
Bard took the hill in the bottom of the eighth with an 8-4 lead. He allowed a leadoff single to Wieters, then got two outs before giving up an RBI single to Chris Davis (8-5) and a run-scoring triple to Nolan Reimold (8-6).
J.J. Hardy opened the bottom of the ninth with a single off Jonathan Papelbon. Markakis (the potential tying run) battled Bot through an 11-pitch at-bat, but grounded out to first, moving Hardy to second. Vlad Guerrero singled Hardy to third. Lavarnway made a play on Wieters's dribbler in front of the plate - it seemed to happen in slow motion - throwing him out at first, but Hardy scored (8-7) and pinch-runner Matt Angle took second. Papelbon had another battle on his hands with Jones, getting ahead 0-2, but having Jones work the count full, fouling off four pitches along the way. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Jones grounded out to Jed Lowrie at third to end the game.
One game remaining in the regular season. One game to decide who continues on to the post-season. ... Maybe. ... We may end up needing G163 on Thursday.
Erik Bedard / Zach Britton
It's embarrassing, man.
You guys are better than this.
Well, I mean, you know, it happens. It's baseball. ... But let me tell you, don't let us win today ...
Yankees at Rays - Bartolo Colon / Jeremy Hellickson - at 7 PM.
Wild Card Probability (%)
Cool BP Red Sox 63.4 55.1 Rays 36.6 44.9Game thread.