BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox bats fell flat at Fenway Park for the first time in a month, ending a streak of 14 straight home games with seven runs or more in a 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

John Maine (2-1) and five relievers combined on a four-hitter. AL East-leading Boston lost for just the second time in 21 home games and failed to score seven runs at Fenway Park for the first time since Aug. 2.

The Red Sox, who had won five in a row, got a single by Manny Ramirez and a two-run double by Jason Varitek in the first inning, then didn’t get another until Kevin Millar singled leading off the ninth.

Boston reliever Keith Foulke pitched in the major leagues for the first time since July 4. Recovered from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Foulke gave up a single in the seventh and ended the inning by retiring Javy Lopez on a flyout.

Baltimore went ahead 3-2 in the second on an RBI single by Chris Gomez and a two-run double by Luis Matos. Alejandro Freire hit his first major league homer leading off the fourth, and the Orioles won their third straight after a 1-10 stretch.

Maine (2-1) made his fifth major league start and seventh appearance, allowing two earned runs, striking out five and walking five in five innings. Eric DuBose, Chris Ray, Steve Kline, Todd Williams and B.J. Ryan followed as the Orioles improved to 8-5 this year against the defending World Series champions.

Freire, who made his major league debut Aug. 9, gave Baltimore a 4-2 lead with a leadoff homer in the fourth.

Lenny DiNardo (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, started in place of David Wells, serving a six-game suspension stemming for a July 2 argument with umpires. DiNardo allowed four runs, one of them earned, and seven hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

He was followed by two pitchers who made their Red Sox debuts. Chad Harville allowed a walk in one-third of an inning, and Matt Perisho gave up an RBI double in a two-run seventh to Brian Roberts, his only batter.

After Freire’s homer, Johnny Damon’s sacrifice fly cut Baltimore’s lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth.

Notes: The Red Sox claimed Harville on Monday after he was put on waivers by Houston. Perisho was called up from Pawtucket on Thursday. Boston signed him Aug. 6, three days after Florida released him. … Rafael Palmeiro returned to Baltimore for an MRI exam of his right knee after Thursday night’s game at Toronto. … Baltimore scored more than four runs for the eighth time in 21 games.

AP-ES-09-02-05 2224EDT


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