BOSTON – Mike Carp didn’t need a line drive, a deep shot or to hit into the gap. His little bloop dropped in perfectly for the Boston Red Sox.
Carp’s pinch-hit floater dropped just beyond the glove of Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado in the eighth inning, scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia from second with the tie-breaking run and lifting the Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night.
“Sometimes it’s all about placement,” he said, breaking into a smile. “I didn’t get a lot of it, but it’s a funny game. You can hit a ball hard, guys were hitting the balls hard, but right at people. It just takes just one little squibber, one little jam shot to seal the deal.”
The AL East-leading Red Sox continued their run from last to first with another final at-bat win. It was the 20th time in their 79 wins that they’ve gone ahead in their final turn at the plate.
Last season, the Red Sox were last in the division with 69 wins.
“This is a group that knows how to play with the game situation that’s in front of them,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “They love to compete and love to work on any given day. I think this is the 30th time we’ve come from behind to win and it kind of shows the grit and character that’s been with this team all year.”
Shane Victorino drove in a run for Boston with an RBI single after collecting a career-best seven RBI and hitting two homers in a 13-2 win on Tuesday night. Craig Breslow (4-2) got two outs to earn the win and Koji Uehara got his 14th save with a perfect ninth for Red Sox, who won their fourth straight.
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 47th homer and added an RBI double for Baltimore, which lost for the sixth time in its last eight games.
Saltalamacchia hit a two-out double high off the left-field wall against Tommy Hunter (3-3) and Stephen Drew was walked intentionally before Carp’s bloop fell just past the glove of Machado in short left field.
The Red Sox rallied against Baltimore’s bullpen, tying it 3-3 on Dustin Pedroia’s two-run single off Darren O’Day in the seventh. Jacoby Ellsbury barely beat a throw to the plate, sliding in before a sweeping tag attempt by Matt Wieters.
“It’s not necessarily one that got away,” Baltimore Manager Buck Showalter said. “They just dumped one in over there.”
Ellsbury left the game for a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth. During his seventh inning at-bat, he fouled a ball off his right foot. Farrell said an exam at the park was negative.
“I’ll be in there tomorrow,” Ellsbury said. “It didn’t feel good at all, but obviously it was a big part of the game. I wanted to be in scoring position to come around and score the run. It hit me on the foot. I wear a shin guard and it hit the top of the foot between the shin guard.”
With the Orioles leading 2-1 in the sixth, Davis belted a leadoff homer into Boston’s bullpen.
The Orioles had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Davis’ RBI double into the right-field corner after Machado singled. They made it 2-0 in the third on Machado’s homer over the Green Monster.
Baltimore starter Bud Norris held Boston to one run and four hits, striking out seven and walking four over 51/3 innings. He was pulled after 105 pitches.
“Sometimes you look into it, sometimes you don’t,” he said of the number of pitches he made. “Tonight it definitely affected me.”
Boston’s John Lackey lasted 71/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking one.
The Red Sox cut it to 2-1 on Victorino’s RBI single in the third, but they left the bases loaded when David Ortiz struck out swinging and Daniel Nava was called out on strikes.
Ortiz, mired in a 0-for-18 slump, flew out to the left-field track twice in four at-bats.
NOTES: Farrell said RHP Clay Buchholz, on the DL since early June with a strained neck, will make his second rehab start Friday for Triple-A Pawtucket.