- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2002

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox have little chance left of making the playoffs, and their fans know it.
Tony Batista set a Baltimore record for homers by a third baseman, and Luis Lopez added a two-run shot as the Orioles beat Boston 8-3 yesterday.
When the first pitch was thrown, many of the TVs at the concession stands were tuned to the New England Patriots-New York Jets football game. The announced attendance at Fenway Park was 31,007, but there were plenty of no-shows.
"It's slim from what I've seen," Boston's Cliff Floyd said of his team's hopes. "A team that's been struggling came in here and beat us. It's disheartening because we know how good we are."
After the Red Sox fell behind in the third inning on Batista's homer into the screen above the Green Monster, most of the biggest cheers came when the Patriots' score was flashed on the center-field scoreboard.
The Orioles, losers of 18 of 19 coming into the weekend, took two of three from the Red Sox, pushing them closer to elimination from postseason play.
"As long as we've got a pulse, I'm maintaining hope," Red Sox manager Grady Little said. "But after a day when you lose a game it kind of grows thinner and thinner."
Batista's two-run homer in the third inning was his 29th as a third baseman this season, eclipsing Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson's record of 28 set in 1964.
Boston, which has 14 games left, is 9 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who have a magic number of five. The Red Sox began the day 8 back of the wild-card leaders.
Jason Johnson (5-13) won for only the second time in his last nine decisions, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6⅓ innings. He gave up two runs in the first, then shut the Red Sox down until allowing a run in the seventh.
"They were hitting the curveball in the first inning and I caught on that that was what they were looking for," Johnson said. "So for the rest of the game I pretty much pounded them with fastballs."
The Orioles erased a 2-0 deficit with four runs in the third. Jerry Hairston and Chris Richard had RBI singles before Batista hit his two-run homer. It was his 30th of the year, one coming as a DH, after getting released by Toronto last season.
"It almost feels like '99 and 2000 when I hit 31 home runs and 41," Batista said. "I'm seeing the ball pretty good."
Baltimore chased John Burkett (11-8) with a pair of runs in the fourth. Lopez hooked a drive around the Pesky Pole in right field for his second homer of the season after Jeff Conine doubled.
Consecutive RBI doubles by Geronimo Gil and Lopez made it 8-3 in the ninth.
Manny Ramirez, who went 2-for-4, had an RBI double in the seventh to chase Johnson and cut it to 6-3.
Burkett lasted only 3⅔ innings, giving up six runs and seven hits.
"I don't know how many games we have left," Burkett said. "Until you're mathematically eliminated, I think you have to believe you can do it."
Notes Boston RHP Derek Lowe began serving his five-game suspension, and second baseman Rey Sanchez started his two-gamer. Both stemmed from a bench-clearing brawl with the Orioles on July28. Burkett fell to 1-7 in his career against Baltimore. Johnson had been just 1-5 since coming off the disabled list Aug.9.

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