An extra-inning 8-6 victory for Baltimore in Tuesday's series opener, after Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game with a two-out, two-run home run in the ninth, only added to Boston's struggles against the O's so far this season. A 2-5 start against their American League East foes has only made the Sox's ascent in the competitive division that much more difficult.
On Wednesday, Boston looks to get back on track behind Josh Beckett, who aims to rebound from a shaky outing against the Tigers last Thursday. The righty surrendered four earned runs on 10 hits over seven innings with just one strikeout. The outing snapped a string of very strong outings from Beckett, who went 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA over three starts from May 15-26.
To regain his rhythm, Beckett knows he will need his full assortment of pitches, particularly for a team against which he is just 7-5 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 career starts.
"[I] made some pitches when I needed to and didn't make some other ones," Beckett said. "We talk about this a lot. You're going to have five pitches in a game you have to make. I think I made three of them ... and the other two cost me three runs in one inning."
As for the lone strikeout in his last outing, Beckett -- whose strikeout per nine innings ratio stands at 6.5, down from 8.1 last year -- said he's just looking to retire batters any way possible.
"I take any outs I can get," said Beckett. "I just try to get as many of them as I can and save the bullpen a little bit. It's nice to get a strikeout when you need one. When you have runners in scoring position and less than two outs, it's nice to get a strikeout."
The Orioles will counter with Wei-Yin Chen, who also wants to right the ship after a rocky stretch. The rookie left-hander is 0-2 with a 7.31 ERA over his past three starts with 15 strikeouts, eight walks and four home runs allowed.
Chen navigated the Red Sox's lineup in five innings of work on May 4 in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Orioles: Jones still streaking
Adam Jones has recorded a hit in 24 of his last 25 games, with a .340 (34-for-100) average. He comes off a month of May in which he hit 10 home runs and drove in 22 runs. Jones has notched a hit in 48 of the Orioles' 55 games, which leads the Majors in most games with a hit. His 20-game hitting streak from May 10-29 was the longest such streak by an Baltimore player since Brian Roberts had a 20-game hit streak from May 9-31, 2005.
Red Sox: Dice-K could take Bard's place
Daisuke Matsuzaka could take Daniel Bard's place in the rotation this Saturday. Bard's demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday opens the door for Dice-K to return to the Red Sox. Dice-K tossed 1 1/3 innings of one-run ball with two strikeouts and two walks during a rehab assignment with Pawtucket on Tuesday.
Reliever Scott Atchison's streak of 15 consecutive scoreless appearances ended Tuesday, after giving up two earned runs in one-third of an inning. Atchison had not allowed a run in 19 2/3 innings dating back to April 29, which was the longest streak in the Majors at the time.
J.J. Hardy's 38 home runs since June 1, 2011, ties him with Matt Kemp for the third-most home runs in all of baseball. Hardy trails Josh Hamilton (45) and Curtis Granderson (41).