BOSTON - The Orioles were one strike away from winning tonight's game and pulling into a first-place tie with Tampa Bay in the American League East.
It seemed like a done deal with Jim Johnson on the mound, but nothing comes easily for the Orioles.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer off Johnson on a 1-2 pitch to tie the game, 6-6, and send it into extra innings. David Ortiz singled off the Green Monster with one out and "Salty," as he's called here, cleared it with two outs.
Manager Buck Showalter argued that a fan reached over the wall and touched the ball. The play was reviewed and the call upheld.
Johnson had converted 25 straight save chances since Aug. 14, 2011, including 17 this season.
Tampa Bay lost tonight, so the Orioles can regain a share of the AL East lead. They just need to put away the Red Sox.
It won't happen in regulation.
I'm checking whether Chris Davis is warming in the Orioles' bullpen. So far, he's no where to be found.
Maybe if we get to the 16th inning.
Update: Maybe the Orioles can end it in the 10th.
Mark Reynolds led off by walking against Alfredo Aceves. Steve Pearce laid down a sacrifice bunt and Ronny Paulino drove in his fourth run of the season with a single into center field.
Ryan Flaherty singled after replacing Steve Tolleson at third base to put runners on the corners with one out, and Endy Chavez delivered an RBI single for his third hit of the night.
Orioles 8, Red Sox 6.
Update II: Johnson gets the win instead of the save. I'm surprised he returned for the 10th after throwing 20 pitches in the ninth.
The Orioles have won six in a row at Fenway Park and seven of their last eight. And they're back in a first-place tie with the Rays.
Down on the farm, Zach Britton got the win for Triple-A Norfolk after allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Brian Roberts went 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.