MLB Standings: Boston Red Sox Maintain Big AL East Lead With 7th Straight Win

By E Sarmiento, Posted: 09/22/16 12:47PM EDT
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Andrew Benintendi #40 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after driving in Sandy Leon #3 and Aaron Hill #18 on a three run home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 21, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo : Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Boston Red Sox record their seventh straight win, as the runaway AL East leaders ignited in the sixth inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1. It's been all Boston as of late, catching fire as the playoffs near, going 15 for 20 with ten of those victories over division rivals.

The win puts the Red Sox five games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East race, and have pushed the Orioles six games behind. A chance to sweep the series looms for the Red Sox, as the win is their third straight in Baltimore.

A catching error and a three-run homer provided the difference in the game, alongside great pitching from Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox again provided some drama, coming back in the sixth after being down a run from the third inning, and shutting out the Orioles the rest of the way. With a loaded lineup filled with great hitters, the hit of the night actually belong to an unlikely outfielder in Andrew Benintendi, who recording the second home run of his career.

"I was trying to get something early in the count because I feel like this entire series, it feels like I've had two strikes on me every time," said Benintendi. "Just looking for something out over the plate and put a good swing on it."

The turning point of the game came in the sixth before Benintendi's homer, when Orioles first baseman Chris Davis misfired a pass to pitcher Sandy Leon, allowing David Ortiz and Mookie Betts to score two runs. The Red Sox already had two outs before the reversal, and it paved the way for Benintendi's homer that all but sealed the win for the night.

The Red Sox's bullpen preserved the win, as they retired 14 of the final 15 Orioles batters. It was also a good night for starting pitcher Buchholz, who's seven innings only allowed one run. The right-handed ace has turned it on as of late, going 4-0 since August 18 while recording a 3.09 ERA.

"Tonight, Clay probably had his best curveball in some time," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Particularly after we score the five, he comes out with two very quick and clean innings. Those were maybe his best two innings of the season."

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