Red Sox-Orioles Preview

In jeopardy of missing the postseason for the first time in four

years, the Boston Red Sox simply need to focus on stringing

together some wins.

The Red Sox can start with a second straight victory and series

win over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Camden

Yards.

Faced with falling further behind in the AL East and wild-card

standings, Boston (75-68) scored six times in the seventh inning to

rally for a 9-6 win at Baltimore on Wednesday to snap a three-game

skid and improve to 2-3 on a six-game trip.

Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer and Marco Scutaro added a

two-run shot in the decisive seventh to help Boston remain eight

games behind the Yankees in the East and seven back of Tampa Bay in

the wild card.

“We need to chip away and get some wins,” Wednesday’s winner

Jon Lester said.

After totaling 12 runs in its previous five games, Boston hopes

to build on its big offensive effort. Beltre homered for the 24th

time but first since Aug. 18. The All-Star third baseman is 10 for

31 with two homers at Camden Yards this season.

Beltre is 4 for 12 with two doubles and a homer against

scheduled starter Brad Bergesen (6-9, 5.55 ERA), who has not lost

since July 26.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in eight innings

of a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday to improve to

3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts since going 0-7 with a 7.85 ERA

in his previous 10.

“It’s a great feeling and definitely something to build on,”

Bergesen said. “I’ve just been battling things all year long, and

it’s been a roller-coaster ride. There’s been so much adversity

this year, so I’ve really just tried to persevere and keep that

determination and that focus.”

Bergesen is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in four starts versus Boston,

including 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA this season.

Looking for his first win since Aug. 5, Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-4,

4.19) returns to the mound for Boston after missing his scheduled

start Friday due to back soreness.

“It’s a normal (thing),” manager Terry Francona told the Red Sox

official website. “Everybody that’s had a back that’s tightened up,

you kind of feel it sometimes.”

The right-hander has allowed four runs in each of his last three

starts, going 0-1 with a 5.31 ERA. He struck out eight and walked

three in eight innings of a 5-4, 11-inning win over Toronto on Aug.

21.

Matsuzaka is 3-2 with a 5.65 ERA in seven starts versus

Baltimore, including 2-2 with a 7.30 ERA in five at Camden Yards.

He yielded seven runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 12-9 loss at Baltimore

on May 1.

Baltimore’s Brian Roberts went 0 for 4 on Wednesday, but has hit

.320 in his last seven games and 7 for 15 with three doubles

against Matsuzaka.

The Orioles (49-84), who had a four-game winning streak snapped,

are 17-11 under manager Buck Showalter. He is one win shy of

becoming the 64th manager in major league history to reach 900.