Orioles 5, Red Sox 2

As the AL East race heads into September, the Baltimore Orioles

aren’t playing like a last-place team anymore and the Boston Red

Sox no longer have the look of a contender.

Rookie Brian Matusz won his third consecutive start, and the

Baltimore Orioles beat Josh Beckett and the fading Red Sox 5-2 on

Tuesday night to cap a memorable first month under manager Buck

Showalter.

Luke Scott hit his career-high 26th homer, had two RBIs and

scored twice to help the Orioles extend their winning streak to

four. Baltimore went 17-11 in August, 17-10 with Showalter in the

dugout.

”It’s been fun, what can you say? We are getting pitching, we

are getting defense and we are getting offense,” right fielder

Nick Markakis said. ”When you get all three of those, good things

happen.”

The Orioles last had a winning August in 1997 – the most recent

season in which they finished above .500.

”The positive thing is we are doing it against teams that we

have struggled with in the past,” Markakis said.

Baltimore went 6-0 against the Los Angeles Angels in August and

finished the month by beating Boston. The Orioles were 4-24 against

those teams last year.

Matusz (7-12) allowed two runs, six hits and a walk in six-plus

innings. The left-hander struck out six, including David Ortiz

three times.

Koji Uehara, the third Baltimore reliever, retired all five

batters he faced to earn his fifth save.

Jed Lowrie homered for the Red Sox, who have dropped three

straight. Boston fell eight games behind AL East-leader New York

and remained seven games behind second-place Tampa Bay.

”We’ve got to win games,” Lowrie said. ”We don’t have any

other choice.”

Lowrie was one of few players to make himself available in the

sullen Boston clubhouse. Beckett left by the time reporters were

allowed to enter and Ortiz refused to talk.

Beckett (4-4), who came in with a 6.50 ERA, gave up three runs,

two earned, and seven hits in seven innings.

”We expect that from Beckett,” manager Terry Francona said.

”We’ve come for a long time to lean on him. Tonight was more what

he can do.”

Baltimore got a first-inning run when Markakis doubled and

scored on a single by Scott, who ended a 2-for-21 slump. Markakis

became the first player in Orioles history to hit 40 doubles in

four successive seasons.

”It’s definitely something to be excited about,” he said.

”You’re going to have your struggles, but it’s always good to get

something like that.”

It became 3-0 in the third. With runners on the corners and two

outs, Adam Jones hit a grounder in the hole to shortstop Marco

Scutaro, who threw wildly to second. Jones was credited with an RBI

single, and another run scored while right fielder J.D. Drew

retrieved the ball.

”I have nothing to say. I just made a bad throw. That’s it,”

Scutaro said. ”I don’t have any excuses.”

Lowrie ended Baltimore’s run of 30 straight scoreless innings in

the fifth, hitting his fourth homer following a leadoff single by

Mike Lowell. It was only the third home run allowed by Matusz in

his last seven starts.

”I made a bad pitch right there, but that’s going to happen,”

Matusz said. ”I was able to really come back and bear down and

finish it off.”

The Red Sox got runners at first and third with two outs in the

sixth before Lowell looked at a third strike.

Scott and Felix Pie both hit solo shots off Felix Doubront in

the eighth.

Notes: Ortiz is 0 for 9 with eight strikeouts lifetime against

Matusz. … Francona said Boston will reactivate C Jarrod

Saltalamacchia and INF/OF Eric Patterson from the 15-day DL when

rosters expand on Wednesday. … Jones (bruised shoulder) returned

after missing five games and 2B Brian Roberts (hip strain) returned

after missing two games. … 2B Dustin Pedroia (sore left foot) and

C Jason Varitek (fractured right foot), who are both on the 15-day

DL, will be examined on Wednesday by Dr. George Theodore in

Baltimore, Francona said. … The Orioles are 8-1 in series-opening

games under Showalter. Before his arrival, they were 9-25.