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Seize the day: Carp's flare caps comeback

Veteran delivers clutch pinch-hit single in eighth inning

BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts will surely get his chances to shine under the lights of Fenway Park, perhaps again in a late August game with the Red Sox in a pennant race, but manager John Farrell went with the proven pinch-hitter instead in a tight spot on Wednesday night.

With the Orioles and Red Sox tied in the eighth inning, Bogaerts, 20, and the team's top prospect who was making his first career start at Fenway, was due up with two outs and runners on first and second. Instead, Farrell pulled Bogaerts for Mike Carp, who was 3-for-15 in pinch-hitting appearances this season.

Carp smacked a bloop single to left field to drive in Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the go-ahead run as the Red Sox completed a come-from-behind win to top the Orioles, 4-3, and win their second straight against their American League East foes.

"There's a calmness about [Bogaerts] that he's shown in a short period of time," Farrell said. "But [Tommy] Hunter has been dominant against right-handed-hitting and I felt like that was the spot for Carp."

Farrell informed Bogaerts that he would probably be pinch-hit for if Stephen Drew was intentionally walked.

"I appreciated that he gave me a heads-up," Bogaerts said.

As Bogaerts walked off the field to a booing crowd that hoped to see the rookie get his chance, Bogaerts shook Carp's hand and told him, "Good luck."

Carp needed it, as his flair fell just beyond the outstretched glove of third baseman Manny Machado to drop in left field.

"It's part of how we work as a team," Carp said. "He wasn't upset about it. I'm going in there, trying to get the knock. I've been in that situation a few times this year, having big games where you come up with a few hits and still getting pulled out of there. It's just the way our team, our dynamic works."

Carp, who admittedly always wants more at-bats but said he's gotten comfortable with his role, gave the Red Sox their 79th win, and 30th in which they've come from behind.

"I don't think we ever had it. It's not necessarily one that got away," said O's manager Buck Showalter.

The Red Sox maintained their 2 1/2-game lead over the Rays for first place in the division.

Down for much of the game, the Sox first rallied in the seventh, when Drew got it started with a leadoff double. Bogaerts then hit a screaming line drive that was caught by second baseman Brian Roberts, but Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield single.

Ellsbury hurt his right foot when he fouled a ball off it during the at-bat, but he stayed in the game to steal second base and score the tying run on Dustin Pedroia's two-run single.

"It obviously didn't feel good at all," said Ellsbury, who didn't take the field in the eighth but expects to play on Thursday after X-rays came back negative. "But obviously it was a big point in the game and I know we had to get in scoring position. And when Pedroia hit that ball, there was only one thing, and that was to score."

John Lackey submitted another solid effort, but it was overshadowed by a pair of home runs that kept the Orioles in front for much of the game. Machado took him deep to left field in the second inning before Chris Davis broke his silent spell this series and blasted a solo shot over the center-field triangle for his league-leading 47th home run of the season.

Lackey has yet to win a game this year in which he's allowed two or more runs.

"I would like to have more wins than I have right now, but that's not the goal," said Lackey, who is 8-11 with a 3.19 ERA. "The goal is for the team to win games."

Lackey wasn't perfect by any means, but he worked efficiently enough to get one out in the eighth inning before Davis came up again. This time, though, he wouldn't be facing Lackey.

Farrell pulled the cord on a 7 1/3-inning, three-run effort from Lackey to bring in left-hander Craig Breslow against the left-handed-hitting Davis. Breslow promptly struck out Davis.

"The one thing that he's unique with is that he has the ability to sink the ball on some left-handed hitters," Farrell said.

Then Carp played hero in the bottom of the inning.

Koji Uehara worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save.

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lackey, Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, Mike Carp