Red Sox turn to Beckett for needed win vs. O's

Josh Beckett was able to stop the bleeding for the Boston game set with the lowly Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Beckett returned from an ankle injury to win his fourth straight decision on Friday against Tampa Bay, as he held them to three runs (two earned) and seven hits in six innings, upping his season mark to 13-5 to go along with a 2.50 earned run average.

"I made a few pitches when I needed to, basically from the second through the sixth," said Beckett, who gave up two of the runs in the first inning. "Things worked out. Our offense and our defense really picked me up. They kept coming back. Every time they scored a run or two runs, we scored just as many or one more. They certainly deserve the credit."

Beckett beat the O's the last time he faced them and is an impressive 7-3 lifetime against them with a 3.76 ERA.

Boston's American League East title hopes probably went by the wayside on Tuesday, as the Red Sox continued to struggle. After splitting a day/night doubleheader with Baltimore on Monday, the hapless O's pulled out another win on Tuesday, as Robert Andino's three-run double in the eighth inning pushed them to a 7-5 win.

Mark Reynolds added two hits and two RBI, while Nick Markakis collected three hits and drove in a run for the Orioles, who have won six of their last eight.

Willie Eyre (2-1) recorded the final two outs in the seventh for the win. Jim Johnson tossed a scoreless ninth to post his eighth save.

Adrian Gonzalez finished 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and drove in three for the Red Sox, who have dropped seven of their last 10.

Daniel Bard (2-9) was charged in defeat with two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 relief innings.

With the loss Boston fell six back of the Yankees in the division after New York topped Tampa Bay. The Sox, though, remained two games up on the Rays in the wild card race.

Baltimore will hand the ball tonight to righty Tommy Hunter, who is 4-4 with a 4.81 ERA. Hunter was magnificent on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he scattered seven hits over seven scoreless innings to win for the first time in four starts.

"Keeping the ball down, that was something we went over from day one after my last start. We thought that was a big necessity to fix," Hunter said. "I just went out and tried to stay as low as I can."

Hunter is 2-1 in four starts versus the Red Sox, despite an 8.31 ERA.

Boston has handled the Orioles this season, going 9-5 against them, including a 6-2 mark in Beantown.