Orioles hand six-run Mother's Day gift to Red Sox in 9th


• Summary: The Boston Red Sox completed a Mother's Day miracle comeback with a furious six-run ninth-inning rally to snatch the rubber match of their three-game series with the Orioles.


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• Turning point: With two outs and the Orioles clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth, closer Chris Ray -- while attempting to cover the bag at first -- dropped the toss from Kevin Millar on Julio Lugo's light tapper, allowing Jason Varitek and Eric Hinske to score the game's tying and winning runs.

• Unsung hero: Varitek drove in two with a single in the ninth and then got into scoring position on Nick Markakis' bobble.

• Did you see that?: Josh Beckett -- the major's first seven-game winner -- was forced to leave the game after the fourth inning due to a torn flap of skin on his right middle finger.

• Figure this: Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada played in his 1,118th consecutive game, passing Billy Williams and moving into fifth on the all-time list. Tejada's streak is the longest among active players; Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira is second at 483.

• Elias Says: Only one other time in their history were the Red Sox in first place by such a large margin so few games into a season.

-- ESPN.com news services

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5

BOSTON (AP) -- Josh Beckett was forced to come out of the game. Jeremy Guthrie probably should have stayed in.

Guthrie took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and came within two outs of his first complete game before Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo pulled him, only to watch the Boston Red Sox score six runs and beat the Orioles 6-5 on Sunday.

"At one point, it seems like we had no chance," said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who doubled in Boston's first run. "In the ninth, 5-0, fly ball, catcher misses it, and that was the difference in the game. Everybody started going crazy."

Guthrie was cruising, having retired eight straight, when catcher Ramon Hernandez dropped Coco Crisp's popup near the third-base line for an error. Boston then got four hits against Danys Baez and Chris Ray (3-3).

J.C. Romero (1-0) struck out two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Guthrie, making his third start of the season and the fourth of his career, was looking for his second consecutive win since being promoted from the bullpen. For 8 1/3 innings, he was the unlikely star.

"Well, this was only his second start," Perlozzo said. "He wanted to stay in, but that was definitely my decision. My decision. We didn't make a couple of plays that we should have. Game should have been over."

Ray gave up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and two walks while getting just one out in his third blown save of the season. He was also charged with an error for dropping the toss from first baseman Kevin Millar on the final play of the game, allowing Jason Varitek and Eric Hinske to scamper home on what could have been Julio Lugo's game-ending grounder.

"That's a game we should have won, period," Millar said. "That game was in our hands. I really feel terrible for Guthrie."

The rally saved Beckett from his first loss of the year. But he left after four innings with a torn flap of skin on his right middle finger, failing to become the first eight-game winner in the major leagues and tie the franchise record -- held by Babe Ruth and two others -- for wins to start a season.

"My skin broke and it just ripped more and more each pitch," Beckett said. "Hopefully, I can make my next start. But that is a big 'hopefully.'"

Guthrie had faced two more than the minimum when Crisp lofted a popup in front of the plate near the third-base line; with the wind playing havoc with the ball, Hernandez let it bounce off his glove.

Baez came in and Ortiz doubled off the Green Monster in deep left-center to make it 5-1. Wily Mo Pena singled to left, then Ray came in and walked J.D. Drew to load the bases before walking Kevin Youkilis to bring in another run.

Varitek hit a line-drive double to right to score two, taking second when Nick Markakis bobbled the ball. Hinske was walked intentionally to reload the bases, a plan that seemed to be working when Alex Cora hit a high chopper to second baseman Brian Roberts, who threw home for the second out.

Lugo then bounced a grounder far to the right of first baseman Millar, who tossed it to Ray as he ran to cover first. The ball went off the pitcher's glove and Hinske took off for home, scoring behind Varitek for the game-winner.

Game notes
Beckett allowed two runs and two hits -- all in the first inning -- striking out seven and walking two. ... ... Orioles SS Miguel Tejada played in his 1,118th consecutive game, passing Billy Williams and moving into fifth on the all-time list. Tejada's streak is the longest among active players; Texas 1B Mark Teixeira is second at 483. ... Ruth won his first eight starts in 1917. Dave Ferriss matched him in 1945 and Roger Moret did it in 1973. Roger Clemens had 14 wins and a no-decision in his first 15 starts in 1986. ... Most players used pink bats on Mother's Day as part of Major League Baseball's effort to raise breast cancer awareness. ... Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, who is recovering from cancer, threw 40 pitches before the game. He'll have another bullpen session on Wednesday. ... Manny Ramirez came out after eight innings with a tight hamstring.