Mike Mussina figured if he held the Boston Red Sox off long enough, the Baltimore Orioles would find a way to win.
He was right.
Baltimore erased Boston's lead with a pair of runs in the seventh inning and added four runs in the eighth to beat the Red Sox 6-1 Wednesday night.
Baltimore couldn't do much against Bret Saberhagen (6-4), who took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning.
"Even in the seventh inning I was making pitches. They just got some hits," said Saberhagen, who struck out one and walked none for the seventh time in his last 10 starts.
Mussina said he wasn't bothered by an accident Tuesday in which his vehicle was rear-ended in Baltimore.
That was obvious.
He struck out three and walked two. In his last four starts, he's allowed seven earned runs in 27 1-3 innings, a 2.30 ERA.
"You don't want to go deep in the count against either one," Cal Ripken said. "They can make the pitch to get you out so you see a lot of people swinging at the first pitch trying to get them before the pitcher gets you."
Saberhagen held Baltimore scoreless through six innings but got into trouble in the seventh when the Orioles scored twice for a 2-1 lead.
Mussina retired 11 straight before Jason Varitek singled in the fifth. Mussina escaped a first-and-third jam in the sixth, then retired his last seven hitters before Mike Timlin pitched the ninth.
"He was as good as he usually is," Boston's Mike Stanley said. "He pitched great. We had no run support, though."
The Orioles, who have won seven of nine, went ahead in the seventh when Jeff Conine reached as first baseman Stanley dropped shortstop Nomar Garciaparra's throw for an error. Ripken singled but Conine was out at third on a force play.
Charles Johnson then singled in Ripken, breaking 1-for-19 slump, and Rheal Cormier relieved. Brady Anderson followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Derek Lowe ended the inning by striking out Mike Bordick. But Lowe left after failing to retire his first four batters in the eighth. Singles by B.J. Surhoff, Albert Belle and Will Clark loaded the bases before Conine doubled in two runs. Rich Garces then gave up a two-run single to Ripken.
The Red Sox had taken a 1-0 lead after only three batters. Jose Offerman started the first inning with a walk, John Valentin popped out and Reggie Jefferson doubled in the run.
The fifth ended on a bizarre double play involving the entire Orioles' infield.
Second baseman Jeff Reboulet knocked down Darren Lewis' grounder and threw to shortstop Bordick at second base after Varitek rounded the bag. The rundown continued when Bordick threw to Ripken, who threw to first baseman Clark, covering second.
Clark tagged out Lewis trying to advance to second, then threw to Mussina, who threw to Reboulet, who tagged Varitek out as the runner headed back toward second.
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