EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 27, 2009

Sox again can't find offense

BOSTON — After a promising win on Saturday, Boston fell right back into the offensive slump that has plagued it since the All-Star break.

The Red Sox managed just six hits, falling to the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 yesterday. It was seventh time in eight games they have scored three runs or fewer.

"I think we have people that are trying to do too much," said Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay. "When you're in position to drive in a run and you're scoring 10 (runs) a night, you're telling yourself it's going to happen. When you're struggling, you're telling yourself it has to happen. When you go up and tell yourself it has to happen, you lose your ability to relax and react."

Jacoby Ellsbury and Adam LaRoche each recorded two hits, and Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew each added a single hit to provide all of Boston's offense against Baltimore rookie David Hernandez, who notched his third win of the year.

"We have to relax and let it happen," said Bay. "We have too many people that are gripping the bat harder and swinging harder. We want so badly to do it."

One play that could have changed the outlook was Jed Lowrie's blast in the fifth that looked as if it was destined for the bullpen and a three-run homer. But Baltimore outfielder Nick Markakis raced back to the wall and made a nice catch.

"We had a chance when Lowrie hit that ball that could have been a homer," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "But we ended up with just one run (a sacrifice fly). (Hernandez) elevated his fastball and we didn't get on top of it all day."

Wakefield on comeback trail

Francona said yesterday he hoped Sox All-Star pitcher Tim Wakefield would throw today as he rehabs a back injury. But he was not setting up a timetable for the knuckleballer's return.

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