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The Boston Red Sox were slumping entering their weekend series at Camden Yards. Thanks to some timely hitting by Manny Ramirez and company, that slump is becoming a fading memory.
The Red Sox go for their first three-game sweep on the road this season Sunday when they conclude their set with the Baltimore Orioles.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston -136 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -136 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
The Red Sox (34-24) own a major league-best 21-5 home record, but their play on the road has been lacking for most of the season. They are 13-19 away from Fenway Park, and had dropped nine of their last 10 road games entering this series - including a 1-5 mark on the first six games of their current road trip.
However, Boston bounced back with a 13-inning, 5-2 victory in Friday's series opener. On Saturday night, the Red Sox kept the momentum going with a 6-3 win highlighted by Ramirez's 500th career home run.
Ramirez, who has a modest six-game hitting streak going, took former Red Sox reliever Chad Bradford deep in the seventh inning to become the 24th major league player to reach the 500-home run milestone.
"It was great, especially since I've been trying so hard the past three weeks just to get it done," said Ramirez, who had only three homers in his previous 34 games before Saturday. "It finally came and I'm happy. I'm proud of myself, of all the things I've accomplished. Now I can go and have fun."
Now, Boston has a chance for its first road sweep of three games or more since winning four games over the White Sox in Chicago last Aug. 24-26.
Although this is technically a road series for Boston, Red Sox fans have filled the seats at Camden Yards this weekend.
"That's why they call it the Red Sox Nation. They follow us everywhere. Everywhere we go, we get big support," Ramirez said.
There was bad news for Boston in Saturday's win, as designated hitter David Ortiz left the game in the ninth inning after spraining his left wrist while swinging. X-rays were negative, but Ortiz said he doubted he would play Sunday.
The Red Sox will send rejuvenated Bartolo Colon (2-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound as they go for the sweep. The 2005 AL Cy Young award winner has made a successful return to the majors from the elbow injury that curtailed his 2007 season, giving up a total of three runs over 12 innings to win his first two starts in a Boston uniform.
The right-hander earned Boston's only win on the current road trip prior to this series, limiting the Mariners to one run and five hits over seven innings of Monday's 5-3 win at Seattle.
Colon is 8-6 with a 3.27 ERA in 17 career starts versus Baltimore (26-28).
While Colon is coming off a strong outing, Orioles starter Brian Burres (4-4, 4.15) cannot say the same. The New York Yankees reached Burres for eight runs and a career-high 10 hits - including four homers - Tuesday in only 3 2-3 innings, although the left-hander escaped without a decision as Baltimore rallied to win 10-9 in 11 innings. The bad start caused Burres' ERA to balloon nearly a full run from 3.16.
Burres won his only career start against the Red Sox although he was not dominant. He yielded two runs over five innings while scattering seven hits and five walks as the Orioles won 6-3 at Boston on May 11, 2007.
Saturday's loss was the third straight and eighth in 10 games for the Orioles, who have fallen from third place to last in the AL East - seven games behind leader Tampa Bay - during their slump.
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