After the second extra-innings game of the week, the Red Sox bullpen could use some serious rest and relaxation. Alex Wilson was a lifesaver, as he was called up from AAA and was able to come in and pitch multiple innings, saving some of those worn-out bullpen arms. But what the Sox really need tonight was a nice long outing from starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, and he delivered.
Unfortunately for Dempster, the Red Sox run support was nonexistent though I suppose you might call that karma, given the fact that recently he's had ridiculous offensive clout behind him. Dempster made it through seven and two-thirds innnings, and allowed just two runs. But with runners at the corners for Matt Wieters in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs, it was pretty clear that whatever the outcome, Wieters would be the last batter faced by Dempster tonight, and Dempster walked him to load the bases.
It wasn't the ending Dempster (or the Red Sox) hoped for after delivering a quality start (better, in fact, than the 6 IP and 3 ER required to qualify). Though Koji Uehara was able to come in and record the final out of the inning, striking out J.J. Hardy on three pitches, the Red Sox couldn't stage a comeback. Orioles closer Jim Johnson struck out Mike Carp for the first out the ninth inning, then hit Daniel Nava with a pitch before inducing Jose Iglesias to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to earn the save and clinch the win for the O's.
This is the first time in more than two weeks that the Red Sox have lost two in a row (the last time was when they dropped two to the Phillies), and while they're still atop the American League East, their lead is now at a scant 1.5 games. The Sox have John Lackey going for them tomorrow, and Jon Lester will be on the mound to close out the series on Sunday, but it doesn't matter if you have Cy Young on the mound if you can't score any runs.