Red Sox gain tie with Yankees in AL East

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox had blown a two-run lead,

and now they were in the ninth inning of a tie game facing All-Star

closer B.J. Ryan.

"A lot of teams lose that game," Boston manager Terry Francona

said. "We're not a lot of teams."

AL wild-card standings

Team

W

L

Pct.

GB

Indians

92

63

.594

--

Yanks

90

64

.584

BoSox

90

64

.584

A's

85

69

.552

Edgar Renteria drove in two runs with a broken-bat single in the

ninth, and the Red Sox regained a share of first place in the AL

East by defeating the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Saturday.

The victory, coupled with New York's 7-4 loss to Toronto, left

the Red Sox and the Yankees tied for the division lead with eight

games left. New York and Boston trail Cleveland by 1½ games in the

wild-card race.

After Trot Nixon and Tony Graffanino hit one-out singles off

Ryan (1-4), Johnny Damon drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases

for Renteria, who blooped a single to left that broke a 2-2 tie.

"A great win," Boston's Kevin Millar said. "It took

everything we had to get to B.J. Ryan."

Ryan entered with a 2.32 ERA and 34 saves, but on this night he

was no match for the highest-scoring team in the major leagues.

"We beat one of the best," Francona said. "Guys that haven't

hit him before hit him today."

Jonathan Papelbon (2-1) worked the eighth, and Mike Timlin gave

up an RBI double to Jay Gibbons with two outs in the ninth before

retiring Javy Lopez on a flyout to deep right for his 11th save,

the second in two games.

"I made it interesting again," Timlin said, "but what's

important is that we were one up at the end. This is what we do."

Melvin Mora homered and Gibbons went 3-for-3 with two walks for

the Orioles, who have lost seven straight. Baltimore stranded 11

runners, twice leaving the bases loaded and twice failing to bring

home runners from second and third.

Despite their inability to get a clutch hit, the Orioles were in

it until Renteria's hit fell about 15 feet beyond the infield.

"We hit a couple of bullets and then they break a bat in half

and win," Baltimore interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "When

you're going good, those things happen. When you're going bad,

those bullets we hit are right at somebody."

That's one reason why the Red Sox have won 90 games and the

Orioles are staggering to the finish of their eighth straight

losing season.

"Edgar found a way to get the ball where nobody was standing.

We had the lead, lost it, got it back," Millar said. "That's what

made this game special. We got big hit after big hit."

Boston led 2-0 before the Orioles tied it in the seventh against

rookie Craig Hansen, pitching in his second major league game.

After Bernie Castro beat out a chopper to third, Mora hit a 2-1

pitch into the left-field seats.

Those were the first runs allowed by Hansen in 14 professional

appearances. He gave up a two-out single to Gibbons and a double to

Lopez before Mike Myers retired B.J. Surhoff on a popup.

Boston starter Matt Clement pitched six scoreless innings,

allowing four hits and a season-high six walks. He held the Orioles

hitless through four innings and left with a 2-0 lead, but the

bullpen blew his chance to end a three-game losing streak and match

his career high in wins (14).

Clement was aided by a defense that produced three double plays.

Millar temporarily preserved Clement's no-hit bid by getting a

glove on a liner to first by Surhoff in the fourth and making a

diving stab of a hard grounder by Castro in the fifth.

After Mora got Baltimore's first hit in the fifth, Miguel Tejada

hit a sharp grounder that glanced off Clement to Graffanino, who

grabbed the ball while prone at second and salvaged a 1-4-6-3

double play.

"It's been like that this whole streak here," Perlozzo said.

"The few opportunities we have where we hit the ball real good,

somebody makes a nice play on it."

Boston took a 2-0 first-inning lead against Erik Bedard. Two

singles and a walk loaded the bases for Manny Ramirez, who hit a

sacrifice fly to deep center, and another run came in on a wild

pitch.

Bedard retired 19 of the next 21 batters and did not allow

another hit until Bill Mueller singled with one out in the seventh.

"I just settled down, didn't try to overthrow the ball and

threw strikes," Bedard said.

Clement walked the bases loaded with two outs in the second

before retiring Luis Matos on a fly ball. Three walks filled the

bases again for Matos with two outs in the fourth, and he hit into

a fielder's choice.

In the sixth, Surhoff hit a two-out single and took third on a

double by Chris Gomez, but Clement jammed David Newhan on a 2-2

pitch and got him to pop-up to third.Game notes
Graffanino returned after missing three games with a

strained groin. He went 1-for-4. ... Orioles 1B Rafael Palmeiro,

who won't play again this season, turned 41 on Saturday. ...

Baltimore went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the

first eight innings.