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Red Sox Down Orioles as Offense Fires on All Cylinders

E ASenior Analyst IApril 18, 2009

BOSTON - OCTOBER 16:  J.D. Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with his team after hitting the game winning RBI in the ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs at Fenway Park on October 16, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Rays 8-7 to set the series at 3-2 Rays.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

This isn't the first time in the past six months or so that the Red Sox have faced a seven-run deficit at their own Fenway Park.

The Red Sox also made sure that this wasn't the first time they lost for the first time in six months after being down by seven runs at Fenway.

The first, most memorable seven-run lead held on the Sox was ALCS Game Five. The Rays led 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, 7-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, and 7-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Ground-rule double (single in the box score due to it being a walk-off hit) courtesy of J.D. Drew, and it's 8-7 final, Red Sox win, and the series goes back to Tampa.

Tonight, Brad Penny, making his second go for the Sox, trying to stop an early season skid, didn't really do so.

Penny worked three innings, getting tagged for eight earned runs, walking five, including serving up a three-run homer to Orioles' star right fielder Nick Markakis.

Seven of those earned runs handed over from Penny came in the second inning alone, and the Red Sox found themselves in another seven-run hole.

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Being the captains of the comeback, this wasn't too much to worry about.

As for the skid, the Red Sox also showed in this game that they're starting to get on the same page and have a major turnaround. More on that later.

In the bottom of the second, the Red Sox rallied for four runs, including a two-run shot by Jason Bay. In the third inning, J.D. Drew added a solo home run and it was suddenly a two run ball game.

The Red Sox added three runs in the fifth inning to tie it up, and two more runs in the sixth inning to take a 10-8 lead, which would eventually be the final score.

Stars of the game

Red Sox bullpen: After Brad Penny's horrific outing, the bullpen did exactly what Terry Francona and fans alike expect to see from them throughout the season: salvaged the game.

Following Penny's exit in the fourth without recording an out, and the Sox down 8-5, the bullpen pitched six shutout innings en route to a win that has left me convinced there will be a turnaround in the near future.

Manny Delcarmen delivered 2.2 innings, punching out two and only allowing one base runner. Javier Lopez pitched zero-plus innings, being pulled after allowing a walk and a hit.

Following Lopez's exit, Ramon Ramirez and Hideki Okajima combined to blank the O's for the next two innings, allowing Jonathan Papelbon to come in for the save in the ninth.

Nick Markakis: Baltimore's franchise player has a reputation of being a great hitter, and tonight was no exception.

Markakis went 2-for-4, with one walk, one home run, five RBI, and a run scored. Markakis' performance tonight was enough to raise his season batting average to .359.

J.D. Drew: Drew was all over the place tonight, going 2-for-2, drawing three walks, scoring three runs, along with one homer and RBI. Drew also led the team with seven total bases for the night.

The only thing Drew didn't do was steal a base; he got caught trying to steal second, thrown out by Gregg Zaun.

J.D. Drew was definitely the MVP of this game, as he not only sparked, but was essential to the Red Sox' comeback from a 7-0 deficit.

The numbers show he was responsible for four runs. Take away those four runs, and the Sox would have lost the game, 8-6.

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