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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, September 21st (All times eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (85-64) at Boston Red Sox (68-83), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.57) Boston - Jon Lester (9-12, 4.95)

(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles continue their amazing push towards a postseason spot on Friday when they open a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Orioles find themselves one game back of the New York Yankees in the American League East, while occupying one of the two wild card spots. They closed a six-game West Coast road trip with four straight wins, including two more in extra innings, and have won seven of their last nine.

On Thursday, Adam Jones' two-run homer in the 11th inning lifted Baltimore past the Seattle Mariners, 3-1. Mark Reynolds also knocked in a run for the Orioles, who have won 15 straight extra-inning games.

"We need the win, this point in the year we need wins," Jones said. "It doesn't matter how we get them. We just need the win. Everybody here wants to win, they're not taking no for an answer. It's pretty much how it is, it's not rocket science."

Luis Ayala (5-4) left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th to earn the win. Jim Johnson worked around three base runners in the bottom of the 11th to secure his 45th save of the season, tying the Orioles' single-season record set by Randy Myers in 1997.

Baltimore may have some trouble on Friday, though, as it goes up against Jon Lester, who is an incredible 14-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 20 starts against the club.

Lester, though, has endured a rocky campaign overall, posting a 9-12 mark to go along with a 4.95 ERA. He's been better of late, however, winning four of his last six overall decisions.

"I have to keep looking at those positives and keep plugging away," Lester said.

Heading to the hill for the Orioles will be righty Miguel Gonzalez, who is 6-4 with a 3.57 ERA. Gonzalez hasn't pitched since a no-decision against Tampa Bay back on Sept. 12 when he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 3-2 win.

Gonzalez beat the Red Sox the last time he faced them and is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against them this season.

Boston, meanwhile, enters this series after splitting a four-game set with Tampa Bay, but lost the last two games, including a 7-4 loss in Thursday's finale that saw the club blow a three-run ninth inning lead.

Jose Iglesias clubbed his first major league home run in the setback, as the Red Sox wrapped up a seven-game road trip at 4-3.

Baltimore is 8-4 versus the Red Sox this season. The Orioles' five wins at Fenway this season are their most since 2005.

09/21 10:43:48 ET