MLB

Red Sox above .500 for first time in '11

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BOSTON (AP)

Baltimore's bullpen was having enough trouble before it gave one of the majors' hottest hitters another chance.

Closer Kevin Gregg walked consecutive batters in the ninth inning before Adrian Gonzalez hit a game-winning, two-run double off the Green Monster, sending the Orioles to a frustrating 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.

After building a 6-0 lead thanks mostly to Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka's wildness, Baltimore's relievers gave up eight runs over the final four innings.

''We had a lot of chances to open it up. You get a lot of walks and you never have enough'' runs, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''We had a chance to stem the tide early.''

Trailing 7-6 in the ninth, the Red Sox put runners at first and second on the one-out walks to Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Gonzalez, the AL leader with 37 RBIs, then got the winning hit on the first pitch he saw from Gregg (0-1).

''The thing is to get people out in front of him,'' Showalter said. ''We shouldn't feel like he was picking on us. He's been doing that to a lot of people in baseball for a long time.''

In the seventh, Gonzalez fanned against reliever Jim Johnson with runners on first and second with two outs and the Orioles leading 7-6.

But they gave him one more shot and it cost them.

''I wasn't executing pitches, walking two guys to get to their best hitter,'' said Gregg, who blew his second save in his last four outings. ''It was a curveball and it was actually a pretty good pitch.''

Gonzalez is hitting .328 in May with eight homers and 19 RBIs.

Alfredo Aceves (1-0) allowed one run in three innings.

The Red Sox scored five runs in the sixth to make it 6-5 before Mark Reynolds' solo homer gave Baltimore a two-run lead in the seventh. Then Jason Varitek singled in a run in the bottom of the inning, making it 7-6.

Boston (21-20) got above .500 for the first time this season with its fourth straight win following a three-game road sweep of the New York Yankees.

Chris Tillman pitched five scoreless innings for the Orioles while they capitalized on Matsuzaka's wildness to build their big lead.

On the opening pitch of the game, Brian Roberts reached first on a liner that struck Matsuzaka just above the belt. The next batter, Nick Markakis, drew the first of seven walks off the right-hander. One run then scored on a double by Derrek Lee and another on a groundout by Vladimir Guerrero.

Matt Wieters made it 3-0 in the third with an RBI single.

In the fifth, Matsuzaka left after walking two of the first three batters. Scott Atchison came in and gave up an RBI single by Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by J.J. Hardy.

Adam Jones' single in the sixth made it 6-0, but when Tillman left, the Red Sox came back.

J.D. Drew led off the sixth against Mike Gonzalez with a single and took second when the ball got by left fielder Luke Scott for an error. Jed Lowrie then doubled in Drew. Lowrie took third when Carl Crawford reached on a fielding error by third baseman Reynolds and scored on a single by Varitek.

Gonzalez retired Ellsbury on a fly to left. Jeremy Accardo came in and got Pedroia on a fly out to center before Adrian Gonzalez singled in one run and Kevin Youkilis doubled in two, making it 6-5.

Notes: Scott, who entered the game with 12 walks, walked four times. ... Lee was day-to-day after leaving the game in the bottom of the third with a strained left oblique. He was replaced by Jake Fox. ''He felt a little tightness in his oblique there running down to first base,'' Showalter said. ''We took him out as a precaution.'' ... The Red Sox placed RHP John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow and recalled Atchison from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... The Orioles scored just nine runs while Tillman was in the game in his other seven outings. ... Baltimore was successful on all four steal attempts.

Tagged: Orioles, Red Sox, J.D. Drew, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg, Luke Scott, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mark Reynolds, Chris Tillman

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