Baltimore starter Rodrigo Lopez was tiring, the tying run was already on base and Manny Ramirez came to the plate with first base open.
"It's a roll of the dice," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said Monday night after his decision to pitch to Ramirez paid off and Baltimore beat Boston 5-3. "It's always a roll of the dice with Manny up there."
In the first game at Fenway Park since Derek Lowe's no-hitter, Lopez (3-0) allowed just one hit through five innings. But the former reliever ran into trouble in the sixth when Boston strung together three hits and a walk to make it 4-2.
Ramirez came up with runners on second and third and one out. Did Hargrove think about giving an intentional walk to Ramirez, who leads the AL in intentional walks and is second in walks overall?
"Not the winning run. Not in this ballpark," said Hargrove, who was Ramirez's manager in Cleveland from 1993-99. "The more runners you put on, the more runs you give up. As good as Manny is, it's still Fenway Park."
Things worked out for the Orioles when Ramirez popped up and relief pitcher B.J. Ryan got pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga to ground out.
"I know who's at the plate," said Lopez, who gave up two runs, four hits and two walks in all, striking out one in 5 2/3 innings -- his longest outing of the year.
"I'm trying to be careful, pitch around him and throw my best pitches," he said. "All those guys are great hitters. That's a pretty good feeling. It's exciting facing this kind of team in the big leagues."
Geronimo Gil and Melvin Mora homered to lead Baltimore to its fourth consecutive win and its eighth in the last 10 games. Jorge Julio pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Frank Castillo (1-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out one.
Lowe held Tampa Bay hitless Saturday -- the first no-hitter at Fenway Park in 37 years. Sunday's game was rained out. On Monday, Lowe was named the AL player of the week.
But Castillo couldn't make it two in a row, and he didn't keep the rain-soaked fans in suspense long.
Baltimore made it 3-0 in the second when Jay Gibbons, Tony Batista and Marty Cordova all singled to score one run, and Gil singled one out later to score another. Mike Moriarty followed with an RBI groundout before being caught stealing.
Gil, who hit two homers off Castillo in his last start, led off the fifth with a homer.
"It just seems like he knows it's coming," Castillo said. "Next time, I've got to find a way to figure it out."
Meanwhile, the Red Sox were stymied by Lopez.
Nomar Garciaparra's first-inning walk was Boston's only baserunner until Shea Hillenbrand led off the fourth with a grounder to right; he was erased by a double play.
In the sixth, Rey Sanchez singled with one out and Rickey Henderson walked before Hillenbrand hit an RBI single and Garciaparra hit an RBI double. Lopez got Manny Ramirez to pop up to right -- with first base open -- then B.J. Ryan got pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga to ground out to the pitcher.
The Red Sox made it 5-3 in the seventh when Tony Clark doubled and scored on Sanchez's single.
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