BOSTON - The reeling Red Sox lost for the 12th time in 15 games when Jeremy Guthrie pitched the last-place Baltimore Orioles to a 6-5 win Monday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader, cutting Boston's AL wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games.
Boston, which lost three of four games against Tampa Bay this past weekend, saw its edge over the idle Rays sliced again. The Red Sox led Tampa by nine on Sept 3.
The Red Sox have six games remaining against Baltimore and three in New York against the Yankees. The Rays have 10 to play.
Robert Andino hit a two-run homer and Nolan Reimold followed with his 12th, putting the Orioles ahead 5-1 in the fourth. J.J. Hardy led off the fifth with his career-high 28th home run.
Baltimore won for the first time in six games at Fenway Park this year.
Guthrie (9-17) pitched into the seventh inning for his first career win in Fenway Park. He had been 0-3 and the Orioles had lost all seven of his previous starts.
Marco Scutaro went 3 for 3 and scored twice for Boston. Darnell McDonald hit a solo homer for the Red Sox.
Guthrie was pulled after McDonald's leadoff single in the seventh. He allowed four runs and 10 hits.
Jim Johnson, the sixth Orioles pitcher, worked the ninth for his seventh save.
Leading 2-1 in the fourth, Baltimore roughed up Kyle Weiland (0-3) when Andino and Reimold hit consecutive homers into the Green Monster seats.
The Red Sox trailed 6-2 in the fifth before they mounted a comeback.
Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double and Dustin Pedroia followed with a triple off the centre-field wall, cutting it to 6-4 against Guthrie. TV replays appeared to show that Boston lost a run when David Ortiz's line drive down the right-field line was ruled foul by first-base umpire Mike Estabrook. The ball seemed to carom fair off the lower part of a short wall near the Pesky Pole.
After the umpires huddled in the middle of the diamond, the call was upheld. Manager Terry Francona argued along with Ortiz and first base coach Ron Johnson. Ortiz then flied to the track in centre, pounding his helmet to the ground in frustration.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the third when McDonald, inserted into the lineup when left fielder Carl Crawford was scratched with a stiff neck, lost Reimold's fly ball in the sun. The ball ticked off his glove for a single, and McDonald then dropped Josh Bell's for a two-base error before Matt Angle hit a two-run double over his leaping try against the wall.
McDonald, who came up to spattering of boos leading off in the bottom of the inning, homered into the Monster seats.
Weiland, making his fourth career start and his third against the Orioles, lasted just 4 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and five hits.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wasn't ready to put INF Mark Reynolds back in the lineup after he missed Sunday's game. Reynolds was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Saturday. "I'm not in a position where we feel comfortable running him out there. We'll see what (Tuesday) brings," he said. ... Francona said OF J.D. Drew may see a doctor soon to check the "stability" of a broken middle finger and if all is well they may "move forward a little bit" toward his return. Drew has been sidelined since July 20 with a left shoulder injury and broke his finger on a rehab assignment. ... Francona also said RHP Dan Wheeler has been bothered by forearm stiffness. ... Showalter, critical in a magazine article during spring training of Red Sox GM Theo Epstein's ability to use a large payroll, wouldn't say if beating the Red Sox meant more now. "You don't ever think about that," he said. "We're just trying to take care of our business. I'd like to be in their shoes. We're trying one day to figure out how to be as good as they are." ... It was a makeup of a May 17 rainout. ... John Lackey (12-12, 6.19 ERA) goes for Boston against struggling lefty Brian Matusz (1-7, 9.84 ERA) in the nightcap.