Thanks to a three-game sweep of the Orioles, the Boston Red Sox head into the All-Star break at 55-35, which is good enough for first place in the AL East, a full game ahead of the New York Yankees.

 

In a series marred with hard feelings, particularly pitches thrown at or behind batters, the Red Sox were the better of the two teams this weekend and today was certainly no exception.

 

After yesterday's 4-0 win which saw the struggling John Lackey pitch 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the O's, the Red Sox had their backs against the wall early today only to come back and pull off the victory.

 

Kyle Weiland made his Major League debut today for the Red Sox but didn't go quite the way he would have wanted it to. After a 2-0 Boston lead after the 1st inning, Weiland surrendered six runs in the top-half of the 2nd. The Red Sox, though, bailed their rookie out by putting a four-spot on the board in the bottom-half to tie the game.

 

Weiland settled down afterwards but, in the fifth, drilled Vladamir Guerrero with a pitch that saw both he and manager Terry Francona get ejected from the game, as a result.

 

Alfredo Aceves came in to relieved the tossed Weiland and he responded very well by pitching three scoreless innings. After Boston added an insurance run, Jonathan Papelbon came in to record his 20th save of the season and that was it.

 

As great as the Red Sox have been so far this season, it was only fitting that they ended the first-half by fighting their way back from a deficit to scratch and claw their way to the hard-fought victory.

 

Now, it's off to Phoenix for five of the Red Sox and the second-half of the season will resume on Thursday. I certainly can't wait. Can you?