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Given yet another chance tonight to play the spoiler's role, the Orioles took it and ran with it, beating the slumping Boston Red Sox 6-3 in front of 21,786 at Camden Yards.
The game featured the Orioles again getting to Josh Beckett, Vlad Guerrero setting a career hits record and Robert Andino coming up with the first-ever, Orioles' inside-the-park homer at Oriole Park.
The Red Sox fall to 6-19 in September. They began the night with a one-game lead in the wild card race, but, with Tampa Bay's win over New York, both the Sox and Rays are now 89-71 with two games left.
Robert Andino gets a pie in the face after his big inside-the-park homer in the O's win
The Orioles entered the last of the sixth tied 2-2 with Boston and Beckett. Guerrero led off the inning with a single to center to become the all-time hits leader among Dominican-born players. He now has 2,587 hits and passed Julio Franco for the top spot.
Perhaps feeling spry about that, Guerrero stole second and was there when Mark Reynolds drew a two-out walk. Two huge clutch hits followed. First, Chris Davis doubled to right for a 3-2 lead. Andino followed with a booming homer to deep center. The ball stayed in the park but came out of the glove of Jacoby Ellsbury as he went crashing into the outfield wall.
Earlier, Matt Wieters hit a solo homer, his 21st homer of the season. Davis had an RBI single in the fifth to tie the game, 2-2.
Beckett, who entered third in the American League in ERA at 2.70, gave up six runs and seven hits over six innings. Over his past two starts, both against the Orioles, he has allowed 12 runs in 13 1/3 and his ERA this year is 7.03 against Baltimore and that is his highest versus any AL opponent.
Troy Patton got the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Tommy Hunter, who gave up two runs (one earned) and seven hits over five innings.
Reliever Pedro Strop pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Boston also left the bases loaded in the first and stranded 12 runners on the game.
The Orioles won for the 10th time in 14 games and are 21-15 since Aug. 22. They are 5-2 in their last seven games against Boston and 16-16 in their last 32 against the Sox.