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Power Surge: Boston Red Sox Squeak By Baltimore Orioles

BOSTON - APRIL 17:  Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox hits a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on April 17, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Matthew CohenContributor IApril 25, 2010

After a dismal start to the 2010 MLB season, fortunes are starting to turn for the boys of summer in Beantown. With a come-from-behind win over the bottom-dwelling Orioles, the Red Sox have been able to rattle off four wins in their last five outings, quickly approaching the .500 mark for the young season.

So far, nothing has been easy for the Red Sox. Starting the season against the defending world champion New York Yankees, along with the difficult Tampa Bay Rays and a much improved Minnesota Twins, things have not gone the way Sox fans have come to expect.

Coming into Saturday's action, the Red Sox had posted a troubling 7-10 record. Even more discouraging for Red Sox Nation was the anemic performance of their starting pitching, a rotation expected to be contenders for one of the best in baseball.

Through 17 games, the Red Sox pitching ranks near last in every American League team pitching category. Ranking 12th out of 15 American League teams in ERA with a mark of 4.53, things can't get much worse for the Red Sox hurlers. Adding to the troubles, Red Sox starters have only accounted for six quality starts, second to last in the American League.

With John Lackey on the hill against the 2-15 Baltimore Orioles, Boston was looking for a strong outing out of their biggest offseason acquisition to act as a catalyst for the starting rotation.

Despite giving up a quick two earned runs to the Orioles off of a Luke Scott RBI double and a Rhyne Hughes RBI single in the second inning, Lackey kept the Red Sox in the game by holding Baltimore to three runs in seven innings.

On the other side, Baltimore's first round pick in 2008, Brian Matusz, shut the Red Sox down for the first four innings before giving up a lead-off blast to Jason Varitek.

Going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Orioles clung to a 3-1 lead. After surrendering a walk to Bill Hall and a single to Jeremy Hermida, Matusz was pulled from the game for reliever Matt Albers.

After a stong start, striking out David Ortiz looking, Albers made a mistake on a fastball  middle-in to Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro. With one swing of the bat, Scutaro was able to take advantage of the poorly timed Oriole mistake, sending a souring fly ball into the first row of the Green Monster, giving Boston a 4-3 lead.

Dustin Pedroia continued the rally by taking an outside pitch down the right field line for a double. After walking Victor Martinez, Albers was pulled from the game, relieved by Kam Mickolio.

Following in Albers footsteps, Mickolio served up a three run home run to the first batter he faced, Kevein Youkilis.

This would be all the scoring the Red Sox needed. Despite a shaky effort by the Boston bullpen, giving up three earned runs in three innings pitched, Jonathan Papelbon was able to close the door on the struggling Orioles for his fifth save of the year.

Though signs of trouble remain in the Red Sox bullpen and starting pitching, Boston will go for the sweep of the Orioles on Sunday, quickly approaching .500 for the season.

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