Sox Lose Division Lead As Offense Sputters in 6-0 Loss To O’s

The Red Sox offense continued its slide Friday, this time costing Boston their hold on the American League East.  Chris Tillman blanked the Sox for seven innings, and 200 miles away, the Tampa Bay Rays were making mincemeat of the Yankees, 10-6, to overtake the Sox in the East for the first time sine May 27th.

John Lackey struggled for his second straight outing, allowing three home runs- including two to Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones – as he dropped to 7-8 on the year.  The Baltimore Orioles continue to be a thorn in the side of the Red Sox, as Boston is just 2-6 following the defeat at Camden Yards.

“We have a lot of talented guys in here,” Lackey said. “A lot of good track records. We’ll keep fighting.”

Baltimore got started quickly against Lackey, with Adam Jones connecting on a two-run homer that just cleared the right-field wall to give the O’s the 2-0 advantage. It was 3-0 Orioles when Jones connected on his second shot of the night, almost to the same spot as his first, to open the game up for the Orioles at 4-0.

On the other side of the coin, the Sox could get nothing started against Tillman, connecting on just two hits and three walks over Tillman’s outing.  The best chance for the Sox came in the first when Tillman loaded the bases with two outs.  After fly outs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia singled to left.  Tillman then issued two of his three total walks on back-to-back batters to load the bases, but Daniel Nava – playing his first game since Tuesday – struck out to end the Sox lone threat.

Chris Tillman has stabilized a shaky Orioles starting staff, improving to 13-3.

Chris Tillman has stabilized a shaky Orioles starting staff, improving to 13-3.

The only other batter to reach second off Tillman came in the fifth when Ellsbury doubled with two down in the inning.

With the loss, the Red Sox moved to second, and are now only three games up on the Orioles.  The Sox and O’s continue their series Saturday night when Scott Feldman of the O’s will look to creep the Orioles even closer in the division, as the Red Sox look to stop the bleeding and score some runs for Ryan Dempster.


Inside The Game

-The Red Sox have struggled against the Orioles this season at 2-6, but are 24-13 against the rest of the AL east.

-The usually potent Red Sox offense has scored just seven runs over their last four outings, being shut-out in two of them.

-According to Elias, Chris Tillman (13-3) is the first Orioles pitcher to be 10 games over .500 at any point in a season since Mike Mussina in 1999.

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