Paul Byrd had a bit of trouble keeping the ball in the park on Labor Day. Fortunately, the fly-all pitcher effectively scattered hits and held a very effective Orioles offense to 7 hits and a walk across 7 innings. Despite homers from Adam Jones, Juan Castro, and Kevin Millar, Byrd kept the Sox close until their 6th-inning offensive explosion.
“I think I gave up one of the longest home runs in Fenway history,” joked Byrd. “I don’t know if it bounced off the Citgo sign or not.”
Dustin Pedroia continued his offensive dominance. He was 2-for-4 with a walk, a run, two runs batted in, and a stolen base.
Jason Varitek and International League MVP Jeff Bailey launched back-to-back homers in the second, putting the Sox ahead brielfy. The Sox would gain the lead back again with a 4-run Sixth inning. A Jed Lowrie double, Coco Crisp single, and two-run Dustin Pedroia single would put them ahead for good.
Javier Lopez tossed a perfect 8th inning for his 10th hold, but Jonathan Papelbon’s 9th was a bit rocky. Papelbon gave up two hits, but managed to strike out two to notch his 35th save of the season.
With Tampa Bay off on Monday, the Sox move up to 5 games behind the Rays in the American League East, and three games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Wild Card race.