Red Sox miss playoff clinch in 5-3 loss to O’s

The Boston Red Sox got closer to the playoffs on Wednesday night

even as they missed a chance to clinch their first postseason berth

since 2009.

As they went into extra innings against the Baltimore Orioles,

the Red Sox were guaranteed at least a tie for the second wild-card

berth when the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians. But

the Orioles kept Boston from clinching outright with a 5-3 victory

in the 12th inning.

”We know where the playoffs are. We know how far away we are.

We’re not stupid,” catcher David Ross said moments after the

clubhouse TV showed the Tampa Bay Rays beating Texas – also in

extra innings – to hold Boston’s magic number to clinch an AL East

title to three. ”So we feel pretty good about our chances.”

Chris Davis singled in two runs in the 12th inning for Baltimore

to help the Orioles avoid elimination in the division race.

Baltimore is 10 games back with 11 to play.

That’s a good ballclub. We knew at the start of the season they

were going to be in it,” said Red Sox starter Jake Peavy.

”Nothing comes easy in major league baseball, much less in the (AL

East).”

Matt Wieters had a pair of RBI doubles for Baltimore, which

closed to one game back of the Rangers, who lost 4-3 in 12 innings

to the wild card-leading Rays, for the AL’s second wild-card

spot.

Despite the loss, the Red Sox reduced their magic number to one

for clinching their first postseason berth since 2009 when the

Cleveland Indians lost to the Kansas City Royals 7-2 on

Wednesday.

T.J. McFarland (2-1) worked the 11th for the win and Jim Johnson

got the final three outs for his AL-leading 47th save.

The Orioles played their 114th errorless game, surpassing the

2008 Houston Astros for the majors’ most since 1900.

J.J. Hardy and Brian Roberts had consecutive one-out singles and

both advanced on a wild pitch by Franklin Morales (2-2). After

pinch-hitter Steve Pearce was intentionally walked, Manny Machado

fouled out before Davis’ grounded one up the middle into center

field.

Boston had runners on first and second with one out in the 11th,

but Stephen Drew grounded into a double play.

David Ortiz hit his 28th home run – a two-run shot – and Mike

Napoli added a solo homer for the Red Sox.

Baltimore had pulled in front 3-2 in the sixth on Wieters’ RBI

double, but Napoli hit his solo homer into the center field

bleachers leading off the bottom of the inning against Wei-Yin

Chen.

Boston jumped ahead 2-0 in the first on Ortiz’s long homer into

the seats about 15 rows back in right field. Victorino singled

before Ortiz hit the first pitch, holding his bat and admiring his

drive for a while before rounding the bases.

Peavy went seven innings, allowing three runs, six hits,

striking out eight and walking one.

Chen gave up three runs on 11 hits, striking out five without a

walking a batter in 5 2-3 innings.

Boston closer Koji Uehara pitched a perfect 10th one night after

having his club-record streak of retiring 37 consecutive batters

snapped and taking the loss.

Baltimore tied it with two runs in the fifth. Danny Valencia had

the Orioles’ first hit – a leadoff single – and scored on Wieters’

double into the center field triangle just over the glove of

Victorino’s running bid. Roberts’ RBI doubled tied it.

Mixing a well-spotted fastball with a slider and change-up,

Peavy struck out seven and opened the game with four hitless

innings. He walked Roberts on for the first base runner with two

outs in the third.

The Red Sox had the bases loaded with no outs in the third, but

Napoli lined to short and Jonny Gomes bounced into a double

play.

NOTES: Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury, sidelined for his 11th

straight game after breaking a small bone in his right foot, said

he’s still planning to be back by the end of the regular season.

”I’m making great progress. The doctors are pleased with how

things are going,” he said. ”I’m taking it day by day.” …

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said he’ll know Thursday whether

Miguel Gonzalez (sore right groin) or Bud Norris (sore right elbow)

will be able to start Saturday. ”Miguel feels pretty good today.

That’s pretty encouraging,” Showalter said. ”I was surprised. He

might be a choice for Saturday. He’s going to throw (Thursday). I’m

going to make a decision (Thursday) whether it’s Muggy, Bud or

somebody else.” … Boston manager John Farrell said ”I can see

us going with 11 pitchers,” when asked his plan for a probable

Divisional playoff series. … The Red Sox sold over 4,000 tickets

for $1 to fans wearing a real or fake beard Wednesday, helping push

the attendance to a season high 38,540.

AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen contributed to this story.