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Orioles fall to Red Sox, split four-game series

Orioles fall to Red Sox, split four-game series

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The next time the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox meet, summer will be winding down and football season will almost be here.

Until then, each team will do its best to be in contention when the next series between these AL East foes gets under way.

Andrew Benintendi hit two home runs, Chris Sale pitched six innings to earn his sixth straight win and Boston beat Baltimore 7-3 Sunday for a split of the four-game series.

The Red Sox broke a sixth-inning tie by scoring two unearned runs on a throwing error by catcher Francisco Pena, and Benintendi's second homer made it 6-3 in the seventh.

With the victory, the Red Sox improved to 6-7 against the Orioles. Nearly a quarter of Boston's first 56 games were against Baltimore, but the teams won't play again until Aug. 25.

That's why the Red Sox were delighted to win the final two games to get a split.

"We're neck-and-neck with this team and this division is going to be bunched up for the foreseeable future," Boston manager John Farrell said. "To get out of here even instead of being down 3-1, it's a big swing day for us."

Speaking of big swings, Benintendi hit two solo shots before adding an RBI single in the ninth. It was the first career multihomer game for the rookie, who entered in a 1-for-21 skid.

"He has a gift of being a very even-tempered guy," Farrell said. "Through these couple of dry spells, he's kept his head on his shoulders."

MORE BASEBALL: 2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

Sale (7-2) struck out nine to increase his major-league leading total to 119. The left-hander is 6-0 in his last seven starts, a streak that began with a win over Baltimore on May 2.

His outing came on the heels of a similarly effective outing by David Price on Saturday night.

"Winning those first two games and trying to take a shot at those two guys, it's a challenge," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Chris Tillman (1-3) kept the Orioles even until the sixth. After a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out, Sandy Leon struck out. With Deven Marrero at the plate, Tillman bounced an 0-2 pitch that glanced off Pena's shoulder and into his glove.

As Mitch Moreland edged down the line, Pena launched a throw that sailed wide of third base, allowing Moreland and Jackie Bradley Jr. to score.

"I just tried to be too quick, tried to put a perfect throw, and I messed it up," Pena said.

After Boston jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Sale yielded three runs and three hits in the bottom half. Chris Davis drove in two runs with an opposite-field single to left and scored on a double by Jonathan Schoop, the first of his three hits.

"I really had to kind of refocus after that and not let my emotions get the best of me," Sale said.

Benintendi tied it with his sixth home run, the first in 81 at-bats since May 7.

500 MILESTONE

Boston leadoff batter Mookie Betts got his 500th career hit with a swinging bunt to open the game. He is the seventh Red Sox player in the last 100 years to reach the 500-mark before his 25th birthday.

GRAND FINALE

Veteran broadcaster Fred Manfra called his final game, bringing an end to a 25-year run with the Orioles. A native of East Baltimore, Manfra grew up listening to Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson and joined the Orioles radio team in 1993.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson left his Triple A start on Saturday night with a cramp in his right hamstring. He's an option to fill the void in the rotation left by Eduardo Rodriguez being placed on the disabled list.

Orioles: C Welington Castillo (testicular injury) played catch in the outfield. He's eligible to come off the DL on June 10, but not before a rehabilitation assignment. "You don't want to test it out in a big league game," Showalter said.

MORE BASEBALL: 2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0