O's beat Lester for 1st time, 1 back in East

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox began their final homestand of the 2012 season with 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night at Fenway Park.

Since both the Orioles and New York Yankees won, Baltimore remains one game back in the AL East.

Red Sox starter Jon Lester entered his 30th start of this season with a remarkable 14-0 career record against the Orioles in 20 starts. The left-hander suffered his first loss against Baltimore. Lester worked seven innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He tossed 112 pitches (70 for strikes).

"It was bound to happen sometime," Lester said of his first loss to the Orioles. "They're playing good this year. They've always had a good offense and now they're putting everything else together. It was bound to happen."

With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, Lester will make at least one more start. He's currently at 194 1/3 innings this season and he prides himself on reaching the 200-inning plateau, which is something he's accomplished three times since becoming a full-time starter in 2008.

Even though he has a 9-13 record, Lester believes he still has time to work on things before the season ends.

"Pitch," Lester said. "Pitch. Every time I go out there I learn something about myself, about the other team and the adjustments we had to make after the All-Star break, just continue to work on those. I'll try to pitch as many innings as I can."

Boston, coming off a 4-3 road trip, has two more games against the Orioles here before hosting the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday and Wednesday. That will end the home portion of the Sox's schedule. The club finishes the regular season on the road at Baltimore, then at the Yankees.

On Friday, Red Sox third baseman Pedro Ciriaco gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double. Lester cruised through the first three innings, but the Orioles pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to gain a 2-1 advantage.

The Sox's Dustin Pedroia snapped a 0-for-18 skid with a RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2. In the sixth, Baltimore regained the lead with another two runs off Lester for a 4-2 advantage.

Baltimore closer Jim Johnson collected his 46th save in the ninth inning to set a new single-season record for the Orioles.

SCARY MOMENT: With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon drilled the Orioles' Robert Andino in the back of the helmet with a fastball. Andino was not happy about it and had words with Melancon has he walked towards first base. Red Sox rookie catcher Ryan Lavarnway made sure to stay in between Andino and Melancon. After a team trainer and manager Buck Showalter tended to Andino, it was decided to remove him from the game. Again, he was not happy and had words again for Melancon has he walked by the mound. Both teams were issued warnings.

WEB GEM: Red Sox rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias turned in the defensive play of the game for Boston. In the top of the fourth inning, the Orioles pushed across two runs to take a 2-1 lead and still had runners on first and second with one out. Baltimore's Manny Machado hit a chopper back to the mound as Lester snared it, but he made a bad feed to second base. Iglesias recorded the out, jumped out of the way with a perfect tuck and roll on the incoming runner and made the throw to first to complete the 1-6-3 double play.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Aaron Cook (4-10, 4.93 ERA) will start for the Red Sox on Saturday. Baltimore will send left-hander Randy Wolf (2-0, 5.23) to the mound.