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Boston batters Birds to the tune of 23 hits

Boston batters Birds to the tune of 23 hits

BALTIMORE -- It was a Sunday slugfest at Camden Yards in which the Orioles had no answer whatsoever for the Boston bats. Right-hander Clay Buchholz didn't have many answers either, but the overpowering offense made his shaky performance a side note in an 18-10 triumph that completed a three-game sweep of the Orioles.

Where to start with the hitting heroes?

Victor Martinez smashed five hits in his second game for his new team, driving in four runs in the process.

Jacoby Ellsbury scored four times and had two hits. The red-hot Kevin Youkilis reached base in his first four plate appearances before having his overall streak snapped at 13. Youkilis clubbed three hits, scored twice and drove in two.

Mike Lowell went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Josh Reddick, called up on Friday from Double-A Portland, clocked his first Major League homer. David Ortiz was the only Boston starter to go hitless.

"This is my second game with the team, and everyone on this team is a tough out, a really tough out," Martinez said. "You go out there and battle every at-bat, and I haven't seen an easy out yet. All the outs we've been making have been a tough out."

The Sox bashed 23 hits, their highest total since notching that same number in an 18-5 win over the Twins on July 9, 2008.

"I think today was a big offensive show for both teams," said Lowell. "I actually thought that fourth inning was really important for us, because they made it 7-6 [in the bottom of the third], and then we kind of exploded in the fourth to get the game out of reach again. I thought that was the big inning today."

Was it a fun game to play in?

"It is when your offense is doing the hitting," said Lowell. "I don't think it's fun for either pitching staff. You're going to run into some of those days where a lot of balls are hit well and are not caught, and there's a lot of bloops that are falling that are not caught. That combination, with two good offenses, is kind of a bad recipe for pitchers sometimes. It's much better to be on the winning end of those games."

The Red Sox have been on the winning end of four in a row, setting up a pivotal week in which they play two games at Tropicana Field against the Rays, and then four games in the Bronx over the weekend. The Red Sox trail New York by a half-game in the American League East and lead the third-place Rays by 5 1/2.

"This is a tough road trip," said Rocco Baldelli, who came off the bench in the bottom of the first to replace an injured J.D. Drew, and contributed two hits and a homer to the cause. "We knew we had to come in here and play well. The next two teams we're going to play are playing really well right now. It's good for us to get in here and start swinging the bats before we head down [to St. Petersburg]."

It was the type of day when even Drew's half-inning cameo reaped benefits. The right fielder, who had missed the first two games of the series with a left groin strain, belted a three-run double to the gap in right-center to give Boston an early three-run lead. Drew then hobbled home on a bloop single to left by Lowell and could tell that the injury was still not quite playable.

"It was one of those key moments where you get the bases loaded in the first inning with a chance to score a bunch of runs," said Drew. "Actually, it was a pretty good curveball away, and I was able to snatch it up and hit it out there for a double. As the ball's going to the gap, I'm just thinking, 'It better roll in a hurry for me to get to second.' "

Though Drew had just the one at-bat over the weekend, the Red Sox were stacked when it came to production from the outfield, thanks to Ellsbury's frequent presence on the bases, not to mention the productive first weekend in the Majors by Reddick.

"Very exciting," said Reddick. "I think coming in yesterday and doing what I did took a lot of nerves out of me. Coming into today, I had a feeling they'd try to pitch me away from pulling the ball so much yesterday. So in my first at-bat, I pulled that ball and just got lucky. I got a fastball on the outer third and just stepped to it and put it that way."

As joyous a day as it was for the offense, the start by Buchholz was problematic, considering that he held a seven-run lead entering the bottom of the third.

The Orioles rallied with a six-spot in that inning, but the Red Sox resoundingly answered with seven runs in the fourth.

"It's definitely not the way you drew it up," said Buchholz. "You're handed a seven-run lead, you just don't get that very much. It's a gift that your team is going to go out there and score you some runs. I went out there, the first two innings were good, and I wanted to keep going out through the lineup like that. Then it sort of got away from me a little bit."

Where did it go wrong?

"The only thing I saw was that he was a little too quick with his front shoulder, it was flying open a little bit," said Martinez. "That was pretty much it. He was doing that, and he was throwing all his pitches up in the zone. It's hard to pitch on this level when you throw those pitches high in the zone. The ball was coming out of his hand pretty good. It was just little things."

Buchholz was not eligible for the win because manager Terry Francona was forced to pull him with two on and nobody out in the fifth, with the Red Sox ahead, 14-7.

"The execution of a couple of pitches wasn't exactly where I wanted to be, and they had some timely hits with some guys on base," said Buchholz. "Seven runs, that's tough to swallow. It is what it is. Those kind of days come and go. I'll have a lot more starts coming up that will be a whole lot better than that."

The Orioles didn't take much consolation in knocking Buchholz around the yard.

"I just chalk it up as one of those days," said Orioles third baseman Ty Wigginton. "There's that song, 'Momma said there will be days like this.' She definitely forgot to tell us how many there is going to be."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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