Monday September 24, 2012 | 06:17 AM

With bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, the final pitch of the Red Sox-Orioles game was a fastball, outside. Yet the umpire gave Boston a break and called strike three on Ryan Flaherty, preserving a 2-1 Red Sox win.

Flaherty, from Portland, will bounce back. The rookie has found himself not only in the majors, but in a pennant race. See today's story.

I thought the call on Flaherty was off. But for really poor officiating, I watched the Patriots-Ravens game. Oh my. The regular NFL referees must be smiling.

Back to baseball. Boston's win did not help the Red Sox, in a quest for a good draft pick. It's important that Boston gets a Top 10 pick. Alex Speier of explains why.

Now for the standings: 

Yankees 88-64
Orioles 87-65 (1 back)
Rays 83-70 (5.5)

Orioles 87-65
A’s 86-66
Angels 84-69 (2.5 back)
Rays 83-70 (3.5)
Tigers 80-72 (6)

Astros 50-103
Rockies 58-94
Cubs 59-94
Indians 63-90
Twins 64-89
Marlins 66-87
Blue Jays 66-85
RED SOX 69-85
Mets 69-83
Royals 70-82
Seattle 72-81
Padres 73-80

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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