O's relieved to halt slide with 10-inning win
Tejada, Hughes, Wieters notch big hits to sink Red Sox
BOSTON -- It was by no means a celebration, but rather a collective sigh of relief accompanied by the twang of country music that engulfed the Orioles inside the visitors' clubhouse of Fenway Park.
"I don't remember the last time that we heard music," third baseman Miguel Tejada admitted. "We haven't heard anything for a while."
Tejada, like most of the other O's, relished the sentiment, if not the sound, of Kevin Millwood's Texas-infused iPod. And frankly, following Sunday's 7-6, 10-inning win over the Red Sox, any victory was music to their ears.
"It's a good feeling," said reliever Cla Mereidth, who notched his first career save by recording the last two outs of the game. "We have had a long road trip and it's nice. We certainly can't celebrate by any means, that's pretty bush league. But it will make the flight home a little bit better."
Sunday's win snapped a five-game skid and capped a disappointing 2-8 three-city road trip. The Orioles are 3-16, with 12 of those losses decided by three runs or fewer.
"To put it mildly, heartbreak does not do justice to what has been going on here," manager Dave Trembley said. "And guys are going right back the next day, the next at-bat, the next inning, and giving it all they got. So for them, for what they've been going through, with what they gave and how they won today, it's tremendous. It says a lot about the team."
After posting a season-high 17 hits in Saturday's loss, Baltimore's much-maligned offense continued to show signs of resuscitation Sunday. The O's rallied twice to post multirun innings, and jumped on Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison to open the 10th.
Tejada started it with a single and Luke Scott doubled to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. Ty Wigginton walked to load the bases and bring Scott Schoeneweis to the hill to face rookie Rhyne Hughes. Hughes -- who was recalled before Saturday's game and making his second career start -- delivered in a big way, sending the second pitch he saw into right field to score Tejada. That was followed by a two-run single from late-game replacement Matt Wieters.
"He's certainly picked up right where he left off in Triple-A," Trembley said of Hughes, who went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored. Hughes is 4-for-9 in his first two games and is the first Oriole to begin his career with a pair of multihit games since Jeffrey Hammonds did it in 1993.
Is Hughes the team's sorely needed sparkplug?
"I just want to be here and do what I can to help out," he said. "Everybody knows we've been scuffling a little bit."
Scuffling, in fact, aptly describes the O's bullpen. Following starter David Hernandez's exit three batters into the sixth, Trembley used a collection of five arms to nail down the game.
After retiring five of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings combined, de facto closer Jim Johnson came out for his third frame in the 10th. Johnson yielded a pair of doubles -- sandwiched in between a deep flyout -- to give Boston back some momentum. Adrian Beltre singled and Bill Hall followed with a run-scoring hit to bring the Red Sox within a run and put the go-ahead guy on first.
Trembley brought on the sidearming Meredith, who got Darnell McDonald to pop out in foul territory and retired Scutaro on a lineout to second to secure the O's third win.
"I am just glad to get an opportunity to get the ball," said Meredith, who was thrust into his first save situation in his 272nd career appearance.
"It is big [to get the win]. If you look at any good team around the league and the one-run games, the close games are the ones that they win and they define you as a ballclub."
"It seems like we are always on the other end of the close ones," Hernandez added. "It was just nice to be able to pull one out. J.J. pitched his butt off. He's definitely not used to going out there three times, but he really is the guy that kept us in the game."
Trembley said the difference for Johnson -- who was dominant in the two innings preceding the 10th -- was a changed approach.
"If you are watching the four outs he got earlier they were predominantly fastball, sinking the ball," Trembley said. "When he got in trouble they were secondary pitches."
Fortunately for the Orioles, Johnson's late struggles were secondary. When the dust settled early Sunday evening, the O's found themselves in the win column, a rare occurrence that the team hopes will become more of a trend.
"I feel like we needed this one," Hernandez said. "It just sets the tone for the week, basically. We are 1-0 for the week is the way I look at it."
Hernandez battled all afternoon, but he held the Red Sox to two hits through five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the sixth. After issuing a leadoff walk to Pedroia -- his third free pass of the day -- Hernandez yielded a single to Martinez. Kevin Youkilis crushed the second pitch of the at-bat into left to score Pedroia and spell the end of Hernandez's day. He exited in favor of reliever Mark Hendrickson, who allowed an RBI single and sacrifice fly, with both runs charged to Hernandez. Hendrickson was charged with a run after Jason Berken yielded a double to Mike Lowell.
The O's plated three runs in the seventh and were buoyed by Tejada, who was twice robbed of a hit by Beltre, but broke through for a two-run homer off reliever Hideki Okajima.
"He told me when he got hurt in Oakland, he just felt like he was getting hot," Trembley said of Tejada, who missed four games with a right hip adductor strain and returned to the lineup Friday.
"I think something like this gets him going, and I think when you get the leader going, it's really easy for everyone to follow."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.