Final in 12

Series: Game 3 of 4

Boston leads 2-1 (as of 9/22)

Game 1: Monday, September 20
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Game 2: Tuesday, September 21
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Game 3: Wednesday, September 22
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in 12
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Game 4: Thursday, September 23
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Orioles 6

(70-80, 39-41 away)

Red Sox 7

(91-60, 53-24 home)

7:05 PM ET, September 22, 2004

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

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W: C. Leskanic (3-5)

L: R. Bauer (1-1)

Ortiz slugs No. 40 in win

BOSTON (AP) -- Orlando Cabrera capped an emotional few days with a big homer for the Boston Red Sox.

Cabrera, who flew all night after leaving the team for two days to go home to Colombia to be with his ailing wife, homered in the bottom of the 12th inning to lead the Red Sox to their second straight win in their last at-bat, 7-6 over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

Cabrera lined a 2-2 pitch from Rick Bauer (1-1) into the Green Monster seats in left field. Cabrera's wife, Eliana, underwent an undisclosed surgical procedure earlier this week.

"I slept the whole night on the plane," Cabrera said. "From Bogota to New York -- six hours."

On Tuesday, Mark Bellhorn's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Red Sox to a 3-2 win. Wednesday's victory moved the Red Sox 6½ games ahead of Anaheim in the wild-card race and cut their AL East deficit to 3½ games behind the New York Yankees, who play a three-game series at Fenway Park this weekend.

"I was thinking about taking another day because my wife asked me to stay another day," he said. "I kept saying, `I got to go. I got to go."

Once Cabrera got back to Boston, he told manager Terry Francona he was ready to play.

"Once I landed in Boston, I went to my apartment and called Terry and left a voice mail saying I was here and that I wanted to play."

Curtis Leskanic (3-5) worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the top of the inning for the win.

Baltimore loaded the bases with one out against Leskanic, but the Red Sox turned a 3-2-4 double play on Jay Gibbons' grounder when first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz threw home before Jason Varitek fired to Pokey Reese, covering first.

"What a play!" Francona said. "The whole way around: Mientkiewicz, Varitek, back to first."

David Ortiz gave Boston a 6-5 lead with his 40th homer in the seventh, but Rafael Palmeiro belted a pinch-hit homer leading off the ninth against Boston closer Keith Foulke to tie it. It was Palmeiro's 549th homer, moving him into 10th place on the career list ahead of Mike Schmidt.

Boston is 5-0 in games Foulke has blown saves at home.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Jason Grimsley got Cabrera and Bill Mueller to ground into fielder's choice grounders. Third baseman Melvin Mora barehanded Cabrera's high chop and fired home, cutting down pinch-runner Dave Roberts. Mueller followed by grounded to second.

"Melvin made a phenomenal play, phenomenal play with the bases loaded," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. "Can't hang your head, not the way (we) played."

The Orioles had the best chance in the next two innings, but Larry Bigbie grounded out to end the 10th with runners on first and second.

Foulke also blew a save in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win, allowing a two-run homer to Javy Lopez, before Bellhorn won it.

Ortiz became the 10th player in team history to hit 40 for Boston. He joined Manny Ramirez, who leads the AL with 41 homers, as the first Red Sox teammates to each hit 40 since Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli each hit 40 in 1969.

David Newhan hit a two-run homer for the Orioles, who had won five of six meetings at Fenway Park before dropping the last two.

"We've played these guys tough all year," Gibbons said. "These games weren't gimmies for these guys. We make them work."

The Orioles went ahead 5-4 in the sixth on Bigbie's RBI double off reliever Mike Myers.

Orioles starter Sidney Ponson gave up six runs and 11 hits in seven innings.

Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second on Ramirez's run-scoring groundout and Mueller's sacrifice fly.

The Orioles tied it at 2 in the fourth on consecutive RBI doubles by B.J. Surhoff and Lopez.

Baltimore took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Newhan's two-run homer into the Red Sox's bullpen after Brian Roberts walked.

The Red Sox tied it 4-4 in the fifth, but poor baserunning likely cost them a run. Ramirez had an RBI double and Trot Nixon added a bases-loaded single, but Ramirez held at third on the play despite being waved home by third-base coach Dale Sveum on a grounder up the middle.

Bellhorn struck out twice, giving him 163 for the season, setting a club record. Butch Hobson fanned 162 times in 1977.

Boston starter Bronson Arroyo gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.< ^Note:@ Newhan was 0-for-9 in the series before he doubled in the first. ... Palmeiro missed Tuesday's game with a strained right hamstring.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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