BOSTON, JUNE 22 -- Another night, another game the Baltimore Orioles say they should have won.
Tonight the oodles of runners left on base were replaced by suspect fielding and base running, as the Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, before the 34,711 fans who formed the third-largest crowd this season at Fenway Park.
It was Baltimore's ninth loss in 12 games overall and third in four games on this road trip. All three of the losses on the trip have been by one run.
"We should have won all four ballgames on this road trip," said Manager Frank Robinson, who held a pregame meeting with his team this evening.
The Red Sox scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the seventh after what initially was ruled an error by third baseman Craig Worthington with two out.
Tom Brunansky, who had given Boston a 2-0 lead with a double in the third, singled. After Dwight Evans flied out to center, Ellis Burks hit a hard grounder just to Worthington's barehand side. Worthington tried to backhand the ball, but it went under his glove and down the left field line. Brunansky advanced to third.
Two pitches later, Tony Pena lined a single to left for his 27th run batted in of the season. Fifteen of those RBI have come with two out.
Baltimore, which saw Joe Orsulak get thrown out trying to score on a popup in the sixth and thrown out trying to steal third base in the eighth, put a man on base in the ninth. When it did, Boston Manager Joe Morgan replaced starter Mike Boddicker with Rob Murphy. Murphy, serving as stopper while Jeff Reardon copes with back problems, tidied up Boddicker's eighth consecutive victory.
Jeff Ballard (1-8) took the loss.
Wade Boggs and Jody Reed opened the first for Boston with singles, but Mike Greenwell (two for his previous 19) popped out to shortstop, Brunansky hit a flyout to deep right that allowed Boggs to reach third and Evans struck out.
Those five came up again in the third. With fortune going the Red Sox' way twice and the Orioles' way once, all but Greenwell reached base as Boston scored two runs.
With out, Boggs hit a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Bill Ripken dove for the ball, but it went off his glove and into center field. Reed missed a home run by only a few feet when he hit a 2-2 pitch high off the 37-foot tall Green Monster in left-center. He settled for a double that sent Boggs to third.
Greenwell struck out, but Brunansky hit a flyball to The Wall that fell out of left fielder Steve Finley's glove for a two-run double. Finley drifted back to the base of the barrier and jumped. Fully extended, he caught the ball but then lost it on the way down.
Evans walked, but right fielder Orsulak made a nice running catch of Burks's line drive to right-center.
Baltimore responded by taking the lead with three runs in the fourth. Randy Milligan, who continues to sizzle at the plate, led off with a single. He began the game batting .378 with seven homers and 22 RBI during June, all AL bests.
Mickey Tettleton walked and Orsulak forced him at second, Milligan advancing to third. Cal Ripken, who had singled in the first, singled again to make the score 2-1. Greg Walker, zero for his previous 12, tied it with another single.
Boddicker threw two strikes to Worthington, but then bounced a curveball past catcher Pena for a wild pitch. Worthington followed with a chopper to shortstop that allowed Ripken to score.
Baltimore's advantage vanished in the Red Sox' half of the inning, mostly at first baseman Milligan's expense.
Carlos Quintana singled with one out. Luis Rivera hit a popup that drifted toward the stands on the first base side. First baseman Milligan came over and circled under the ball, but never got his glove on it as it fell to the warning track. Rivera then dribbled a grounder between the mound and first. Milligan made the pickup, looked to second, then slipped. Rivera reached with a headfirst dive. Ballard walked Boggs on four pitches, loading the bases for Reed, whose hits had extended a career-best hitting streak to 12 and made him 18 for his last 44.
Reed hit a popup to shallow right. As Milligan went back, Quintana tagged up at third. When Milligan caught the ball, Quintana broke for the plate. Milligan made a poor one-hop throw that got away from Tettleton. Quintana scored, the other runners advanced, Milligan received an error and Reed was credited with a sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, Milligan and Tettleton failed to bring home Finley from second after he had walked and Bill Ripken had sacrificed. After the Red Sox left runners on first and second in their half on the inning, Baltimore tried to repeat Boston's game-tying play and failed.
Orsulak led off with a single and went to third on Cal Ripken's third hit of the game. With Ripken running, Walker hit a popup to shallow right. As second baseman Reed went back, Orsulak tagged up. He tried to score, but Reed caught the ball, set himself and made a strong throw that cut down Orsulak.
The Orioles left runners on first and second in the seventh and the Red Sox went ahead in the bottom of the inning.