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Ellsbury's two homers propel Red Sox

Jul 20, 2011 - 10:43 PM Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Suddenly, Jacoby Ellsbury is a slugger.

The Boston center fielder homered twice off Jake Arrieta to boost the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Orioles in Wednesday's rubber match of their three- game series.

Ellsbury recorded the second multi-homer game of his career and has hit four of them since Friday. The power tear has pushed his 2011 total to 15, well above his previous career high of nine set in 2008.

"He kind of put us on his shoulders today," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Ellsbury. "He has a way of doing that from time to time."

His bat backed starter Andrew Miller (4-1), who held the Orioles scoreless through 5 2/3 tough innings. While the left-hander gave up just two hits, he walked six and threw 103 pitches.

Still, it was a better outing than his last one. Miller was roughed up for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings last Friday at Tampa Bay.

Boston won for the 14th time in its last 17 games and had two players extend their streaks. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia got an infield hit in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games, while Daniel Bard pitched a flawless eighth to push his scoreless streak to 22 1/3 innings

The Orioles had scored 30 runs in their last four games, but the offense sputtered Wednesday as Arrieta (9-7) took the loss. He gave up three runs in seven innings and was denied a 10th win.

Baltimore has supported the right-hander this season, averaging more than five runs in contests he has started, but couldn't get a run across against a wild Miller.

Miller faced nine three-ball counts and threw 12 first-pitch balls, and got into one big jam in the second inning.

The left-hander struggled to find the plate and walked Mark Reynolds, Nolan Reimold and Robert Andino in a row with one out.

After a visit from pitching coach Curt Young, Orioles catcher Craig Tatum came up and swung at the first pitch, fouling it off. Miller threw the next two balls in the dirt, but Tatum continued to hack and fouled off the next three before grounding into a double play.

"It was a big momentum shift," Tatum said. "He was all over the place and then I came up there and he threw me some good pitches ... It would have been nice to hit a fly ball."

The Red Sox took the lead an inning later.

Facing Ellsbury, Arrieta initially kept the ball down and got ahead in the count, 1-2, but then threw a fastball down the middle of the plate. Ellsbury was right on it, hammering the pitch into the seats just to the left of the large wall in right field to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.

They tacked on another run in the fourth when Jason Varitek's groundout plated Josh Reddick, who had led off with a single and moved to third on Carl Crawford's double to the right field corner. Reddick initially charged through third base on Crawford's hit but reversed course midway down the line.

Ellsbury's second homer came in the seventh. It was a slightly better pitch from Arrieta -- a breaking ball at the lower edge of the strike zone and over the plate -- but the same result. Ellsbury lofted it over the right field wall to make it 3-0.

Mark Hendrickson gave up hits to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the eighth before walking Reddick and Crawford to force in Boston's final run.

Baltimore wasn't able to take advantage of similar situations Wednesday. After wasting the second-inning opportunity, the Orioles had two on with two out in the sixth when Miller was pulled.

But Matt Albers came in and recorded the final out, then pitched the seventh. Bard and Jonathan Papelbon closed the game.

Game Notes

Gonzalez had four hits to break out of a 2-for-24 slump...The Red Sox finished their road trip with a 4-2 mark and begin a seven-game homestand Friday against Seattle...Bard's scoreless streak is the longest active streak in the majors, and longest by a Red Sox pitcher this season...Arrieta gave up nine hits and struck out four. He did not walk a batter for the second time in his career (38 starts). However, Arrieta has given up seven home runs in his last four starts. He is winless over that span...David Ortiz and Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg served the final game of their reduced three-game suspensions for the July 8 melee...Boston is 8-3 vs. Baltimore this season.