BOSTON Jim Thome hit a go-ahead double in the 12th in his first game in nearly two months and the Baltimore Orioles won their 16th straight extra-inning game, beating the Boston Red Sox 9-6 on Saturday.
The Orioles won their sixth in a row overall. They began the day one game behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Baltimore’s extra-inning streak is the best in the majors since the Cleveland Indians won 17 straight in 1949. The Orioles are 16-2 in extras this year, losing only to the Yankees on April 10-11.
Thome had been on the disabled list from July 31 until Friday with a herniated disc in his neck.
Thome was having a rough day in his first appearance since July 27, and was 0 for 5 with a double play and two strikeouts. But the veteran slugger gave Baltimore a 7-6 lead with his ground-rule double off Alfredo Aceves (2-10) that drove in Adam Jones, who led off the 12th with a double.
Endy Chavez and Manny Machado added RBI singles to pad the lead.
Tommy Hunter (6-8) pitched a perfect 11th and Jim Johnson finished to extend his franchise record to 47 saves. He’s blown just three.
Jones earlier hit his 31st home run.
The Red Sox are 0-7 in extra-inning games at home.
Trailing 6-3, the Red Sox tied the game with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
In the seventh, they loaded the bases with no outs against Jake Arrieta on a double by Scott Podsednik, a walk to Pedro Ciriaco and an infield single by Dustin Pedroia. Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway each drove in a run when they grounded into forceouts.
Pedro Strop relieved to start the bottom of the eighth and retired the first two batters. But Daniel Nava and Podsednik followed with consecutive doubles, tying it at 6.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first when Nate McLouth led off with a walk, stole second, moved up on a groundout and scored on a grounder by Jones. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on a ground-rule double by Pedroia and a single by Lavarnway.
Baltimore made it 2-1 in the second on an RBI single by Machado then added a run in the fourth on a leadoff homer by Mark Reynolds, his 22nd of the year.
Boston tied it in the bottom half of the fourth on a leadoff single by Mike Aviles and Danny Valencia’s first homer since the Red Sox acquired him from the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 5. It was his third of the season.
The Orioles went back on top 5-3 in the sixth on a two-run triple by Ryan Flaherty, starting for second baseman Robert Andino, who was in uniform but didn’t play after being hit on the left ear flap of his helmet by a pitch in the ninth inning of Baltimore’s 4-2 win on Friday night. Results of a CAT scan were negative.
Jones made it 6-3 in the seventh with his homer.
NOTES: Three of the Orioles last four games have gone extra innings, wins at Seattle of 4-2 in 18 innings and 3-1 in 11 before opening the series in Boston. … The Red Sox starting lineup had seven players, including Aaron Cook, who spent time in the minors this year. The three who didn’t were Aviles, Pedroia and Ross. … Cook had won his previous start after going 0-5 in six before that. … Cook had allowed just one stolen base, the fewest among AL pitchers with at least 80 innings, before McLouth stole second in the first. … Chris Tillman (8-2) pitches for Baltimore against Felix Doubront (11-9) in Sunday’s finale of the three-game series.