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O's win for just the second time in 20 games

BOSTON (AP) -- Rodrigo Lopez didn't take long to figure out how to beat the Boston Red Sox.

The rookie earned his fourth win against Boston, and Geronimo Gil hit a two-run homer as the Baltimore Orioles won for just the second time in 20 games with an 8-3 victory Friday night.

Lopez (15-7) improved to 4-0 against the Red Sox.

"It's a big relief,'' he said. "They've been a good team all year.''

He got plenty of support as six Orioles drove in runs. Gil's 11th homer came in a four-run fourth inning that made it 5-1.

Mike Bordick set an AL record with his 96th consecutive errorless game at shortstop, breaking a tie with former Orioles star Cal Ripken. Rey Ordonez of the New York Mets set the major league record of 101 games in 1999-2000.

Bordick handled three chances, increasing his major league
record to 485 in a row without an error.

"To be able to do that with the great shortstops the Orioles have had in the past, I'm real excited,'' he said.

Lopez has four of Baltimore's five wins against Boston but was
0-2 in his previous three starts. On Friday, the offense finally
broke loose to end an eight-game losing streak.

"It's been a long time since we've had a chance to smile,''
Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "If you get hit in the head
with a hammer often enough you start looking for that hammer.''

The Red Sox got just six hits and left the bases loaded twice as their four-game winning streak came to an end.

They didn't face a pitcher like Lopez in those games.

"He is at a high level of confidence,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. "At the same time, we are at the lower spectrum of that confidence when we face him.''

Jose Leon's two-run single and Gil's homer on consecutive
pitches in the fourth off Casey Fossum (4-4) gave Baltimore all the
runs it needed.

That's because Lopez was sharp when he had to be, leaving the
bases loaded in the third and sixth innings and picking Nomar
Garciaparra off second in the fifth with the score 6-3.

"I didn't hear anything,'' Garciaparra said. "I didn't know anyone was there. I just took a lead and that was it.''

The Orioles still have a shot at a .500 record, but they must win their final 16 games.

The Red Sox (83-63) will almost certainly miss the playoffs even if they win their last 16 games.

"We all knew losing one would be shooting yourself in the foot,'' Boston's Cliff Floyd said.

Boston is 9½ games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East
and started the day 7½ back in the wild-card race

Lopez improved his bid for the AL rookie of the year award,
allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. He has nearly
one-fourth of Baltimore's 65 wins and leads AL rookie pitchers in
victories, ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched.

The Orioles went ahead 1-0 in the second on a double by Tony
Batista and a single by Jay Gibbons.

The Red Sox tied it in the third after a leadoff single by Sanchez. Johnny Damon beat out a grounder for a single. Then he beat a throw to second on a force attempt, loading the bases. Garciaparra followed with a walk.

In the fourth, Baltimore scored four times as Jeff Conine singled, Batista walked, and Leon and Gil followed with their big hits.

Conine added an RBI double in the fifth that brought Dustin
Hermanson in to pitch with the score 6-1. Boston made it 6-3 in the
bottom half on a double by Trot Nixon, a run-scoring single by
Sanchez and an RBI double by Garciaparra.

The Orioles added two runs in the sixth on Gibbons' single and
doubles by Bordick and Jerry Hairston.

Game notes
Four of Gil's 11 homers have come against the Red Sox. ...
Garciaparra is the only player in Red Sox history with 50 or more
doubles in more than one season. He hit his 50th Friday and had 51
in 2000. ... Floyd was hit by a pitch in the right arm in the sixth
and stayed in the game to run. He was replaced in the field in the
seventh by Benny Agbayani but said afterward he was just sore. ...
Lopez's 15 wins are the fourth-most by an Orioles rookie and the
most since Mike Boddicker had 16 in 1983.