- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008

BOSTON (AP) | After sleepwalking through six innings, the Boston Red Sox woke up.

AL batting leader Dustin Pedroia homered in the seventh inning to begin Boston’s comeback from a four-run deficit, and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Wednesday when pitcher Jim Miller threw away a bunt for a game-ending error.

Hitting cleanup for the fourth time in five games, Pedroia went 3-for-4 and raised his average to .333. He is 21-for-34 (.618) in his last eight games.

“We looked tired the first five, six innings, then we kind of turn it up,” Pedroia said. “We finally swept somebody.”

The Red Sox had won the first two games in three of their last four series only to lose each finale.

“Anytime you get a sweep it’s nice,” Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury said.

Cora singled off Miller (0-1) opening the ninth and took second on Coco Crisp’s bunt single, which appeared to be heading foul before taking a weird bounce on the line.

Ellsbury, attempting to sacrifice, bunted the ball toward Miller, who threw it past third baseman Aubrey Huff and down the left-field line.

“The first bunt hits a cleat mark and kicks fair. That’s just the nature of the game,” Miller said. “I think if I make that throw the way it needs to be made, I’ve got a good chance of getting him.”

Cora slid headfirst into third base, and his helmet popped off. Then he jogged home with his arm raised.

“I was diving,” Cora said of the play at third. “All of a sudden I looked to my right and saw the ball.”

Asked whether he had ever scored a winning run without a helmet, he smiled and said, “Ah, probably not.”

Boston, 48-19 at Fenway Park but 34-38 on the road, moved within three games of first-place Tampa Bay, which lost 8-4 to New York, in the AL East.

The Red Sox sold out 96-year-old Fenway for the 455th consecutive regular-season game, tying the Cleveland Indians’ major league record.

Baltimore has lost six straight and 11 of 12.

“It just wasn’t a good road trip,” Huff said. “We didn’t even win a game on the whole road trip. We knew it would be a tough road trip with these guys and Tampa at their place, but we’ve got a lot of young guys up here learning on the job, and there’s going to be a lot of lumps.”

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