Burkett blames self for Red Sox's fade

BALTIMORE (AP) -- First, John Burkett kept the Boston Red Sox alive in the wild-card race. Then he accepted the brunt of the responsibility for his team's precarious position.

Burkett allowed two hits in eight innings, and Nomar Garciaparra drove in a run and scored one as Boston avoided elimination from the playoff chase by beating the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Saturday night.

The New York Yankees' 3-2 win over Detroit earlier in the day ousted the Red Sox from the AL East chase. Anaheim's 6-4 loss to Seattle kept Boston alive in the wild-card hunt, but one Anaheim win or one Red Sox defeat will eliminate the Red Sox from

The situation is so hopeless, Burkett thought the Red Sox were already officially ousted. He didn't change his expression when informed that Boston was still mathematically alive.

"Barring a collapse that we've never seen in baseball, our
season is over,'' Burkett said. "It's disappointing. I really
think we have a team that could have done something in the
playoffs, with Derek Lowe pitching the way he has and Pedro
(Martinez) pitching the way he has.

"I put a lot of that on my shoulders. If I would have pitched
better and supported those guys better in August, we'd have a lot
better chance right now. August was one of the worst months I've
had in my life.''

Burkett went 0-4 with two no-decisions in August, when Anaheim
and Oakland pulled away.

Told of Burkett's assessment, Boston's Johnny Damon said, "A
veteran is going to say something like that to take some of the
pressure off the young guys. But none of us expected Anaheim and
Oakland to play like that.''

Burkett (12-8) gave up a single to Jay Gibbons in the second
inning and a double to pinch-hitter Luis Lopez in the eighth. He
struck out seven and walked three while improving to 2-7 lifetime
against Baltimore.

Burkett's only previous win against the Orioles was a four-hit
shutout on July 27. In his last outing, though, he was rocked for
six runs in 3 2-3 innings.

"This year's been a very inconsistent year for me. I look
forward to getting home and working and getting ready for next
year,'' Burkett said.

Ugueth Urbina worked the ninth, sealing Boston's major-league
high 17th shutout and earning his 38th save.

Jason Johnson (5-14) allowed two runs and five hits in eight
innings, but was again victimized by meager offensive support.
Baltimore has scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 22 starts,
including five of the last six.

Buddy Groom allowed an RBI single in the ninth to Jason Varitek.

The Orioles, who did not advance a runner to third base, have
lost four straight and 24 of 28. It was the 15th time this season
that Baltimore has been blanked.

"We go out, we play hard, and it doesn't always work out,''
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "In a lot of those shutouts we
have hit the ball hard. But tonight we didn't hit the ball hard,

While Baltimore's skid continued, Mike Bordick added another
game to his major league run of errorless games at shortstop.
Bordick, who set the record of 102 on Friday, made a fine diving
play on a fifth-inning smash by Shea Hillenbrand en route to
running his streak to 103.

Damon opened the game with an infield hit, stole second and
scored on a single by Garciaparra. The Red Sox then loaded the
bases with no outs before Cliff Floyd struck out, Carlos Baerga hit
a popup and Varitek fouled out.

It didn't matter, because that one run turned out to be enough.

Boston went up 2-0 in the third when Garciaparra hit a triple
and came home on a groundout by Manny Ramirez.

Game notes
Damon came in hitting .283, his lowest batting average since April 15, but a two-hit night left him at .284. He also got his team-high 30th steal, but was picked off first base. ... The Orioles have not had a save opportunity since Aug. 23. ... Boston failed to hit a double for only the sixth time in 62 games. ... Baltimore turned two double plays, raising its major league-leading total to 169.