What a difference a year makes. The Boston Red Sox lost 93 games a year ago. On Wednesday, though, they can become the first team to punch their ticket to the postseason, as the Red Sox continue a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
Boston could clinch at least an American League wild card spot with a win over Baltimore and a Cleveland loss to Kansas City. The Red Sox were denied a win in Tuesday's opener, as Matt Wieters knocked in the winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Orioles to a 3-2 win.
Chris Davis clubbed his team-record 51st home run and Brian Roberts added an RBI for the Orioles, who have won three of their last four and are two games back of the wild card.
"I think the biggest thing for me is to go out there and continue to have quality at-bats and do what I can to help the team win," Davis said.
Tommy Hunter (6-4) recorded the final two outs of the eighth, while Jim Johnson tossed a scoreless ninth for his 46th save. Scott Feldman walked a career-high six batters over his five-inning start, but allowed just two hits and one earned run.
Dustin Pedroia homered and Xander Bogaerts drove in the other run for the Red Sox, whose three-game win streak was snapped and their magic number to clinch the AL East was reduced to three after Tampa Bay lost to Texas.
Koji Uehara (4-1) served up the lead run in the ninth. Ryan Dempster worked six full frames, giving up two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Uehara had retired the previous 37 batters he faced.
Heading to the hill for Boston on Wednesday will be righty Jake Peavy, who is 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA in eight starts since being acquired from Chicago. Peavy did not get a decision on Thursday against Tampa Bay, as he allowed three runs, four hits and walked five batters in six innings of a 4-3 loss.
"Just didn't have great command," said Peavy, who is 11-5 overall on the year with a 4.03 ERA. "My stuff was good. I just didn't throw enough strikes to pitch deeper into the ballgame."
Peavy has beaten the O's both times he has faced them and has pitched to a 2.77 ERA in doing so.
Baltimore, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who is 7-7 with a 3.99 ERA. Chen did not get a decision on Thursday against New York, as the Yankees reached him for five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-5 loss.
"I should do a better job for the first three innings," Chen said through an interpreter. "I tried to get my rhythm and tempo and timing back in my delivery. It was hard for me."
Chen is 2-2 in five starts versus the Red Sox with a 5.14 ERA.
Baltimore has won eight of its 14 meetings with the Red Sox this season.