BOSTON — The Red Sox team the Orioles faced this week at Fenway Park is far better than the one that floundered to a last-place finish in the American League East last season. Albeit just nine games into the season, Boston has shown that it will be a factor in the division in 2013.
And that makes the Orioles’ continued dominance in Boston even more significant. Their ability to win games at places like Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium was a key to their 93-win season last year, and will be critical to this season’s success.
The Orioles rallied for their second comeback win in as many games Thursday night, a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox in front of an announced 27,704. It gave the Orioles their fifth straight series win at Fenway Park, a streak that dates back to July 7-10, 2011.
The Orioles have won 12 of their past 16 games in Boston and 11 of 15 against the Red Sox overall, and they now head into this weekend’s series at Yankee Stadium with renewed momentum.
“It means a lot,” said Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones, who drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the seventh inning. “To get a series win here is very big, especially at this time in the season, or any time in the season. We know next time we come here they’re probably going to be a little bit stronger lineup than we faced, but hey, we’ll take it. We’ll take the series and now we just have to go to New York and get the series win.”
Jones drove in the eventual game-winner on the first pitch from former Oriole reliever Koji Uehara, which he lined into left to score Manny Machado.
While Chris Davis — who hit his sixth homer of the season in the second inning — has received most of the attention at the plate for his early season offensive tear, Jones has been nearly as good. He has hits in all nine games this season — including six multi-hit games — and is 18 for 38 with four doubles, one homer and 10 RBI.
“He had a big night for us,” Manager Buck Showalter said of Jones. “Got some big hits when we needed them. Runs looked like they were going to be at a premium.”
The Orioles (5-4) have scored 22 of their 49 runs this season in the final three innings. Thursday’s victory puts the Orioles — who were one out away from falling two games under .500 Wednesday — into a first-place tie with Boston.
Machado, who hit the game-winning, ninth-inning homer in the Orioles’ 8-5 comeback win Wednesday, added three hits Thursday, including a two-out single off reliever Clayton Mortensen (0-1) that began the Orioles’ game-winning rally.
The Orioles bullpen combined to throw 32 / 3 scoreless innings, with Pedro Strop, Darren O’Day and Jim Johnson each working a frame. Johnson, who earned his fourth save of the season, stranded a runner on first, striking out Jonny Gomes and getting Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out to left.