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O's bullpen falters in late innings

BOSTON - One year ago, the Baltimore Orioles bullpen was simply wonderful. Lately, it's been simply awful.
In 2012, the Orioles were an incredible 29-9 in one-run games. After Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox before 31,962 at Fenway Park, they're now 14-24.
With 31 games to play, the Orioles (70-61) are watching their chances for postseason play dwindle.
"I've got a couple of those losses on those one-run games. I'll take a big part of the blame on that, but it is what it is. The baseball's bouncing a different way right now, and hopefully it changes course the last month," Tommy Hunter said.
Hunter (3-3) allowed a flare by Boston's Mike Carp that just eluded Manny Machado's glove in short left. That scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
Saltalamacchia doubled to left. Stephen Drew was walked intentionally, and Carp's hit was nearly caught by Machado.
"I thought I had it. Just a little bit short. Jumped too early," Machado said.
Baltimore had a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. Chris Davis drove in two runs with a double and his 47th home run. Machado had his 12th homer.
Bud Norris allowed a run on four hits in 5 1-3 innings, and was relieved by Francisco Rodriguez.
In the seventh, K-Rod allowed the tying run to score after Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run single.
"I don't think we ever had it. It's not necessarily one that got away," manager Buck Showalter said. "We had a rested bullpen and didn't get it done."
Craig Breslow (4-2) got the win in relief of John Lackey, who worked into the eighth. Koji Uehara collected his 14th save.
Baltimore now trails Boston (79-55) by 7 ½ games in the American League East. They're now 4 ½ games out of the Wild Card.
"It is tough. That's the game. You wake up tomorrow and play another one, so we've got a little over a month left in the season. We're definitely not calling it quits. We've got an uphill climb and little time to do it," Hunter said.
NOTES: Davis now trails only Brady Anderson (50 in 1996) and Frank Robinson (49 in 1966) on the team's single-season list.
Baltimore recalled Kevin Gausman from Norfolk for bullpen help and optioned Wei-Yin Chen to Gulf Coast.
Chen will return on Sunday when the rosters expand to start against the New York Yankees. He'll throw a side session in Sarasota, Fla. on Thursday. The Orioles would have liked for Chen to work out in Baltimore since Gulf Coast's season ends on Thursday, but are required to send him to Florida.
Gausman, who is 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in nine appearances with the Orioles this season, will work out of the bullpen. He had two stints earlier this season. In the first he started, but worked out of the bullpen in the second.
At Norfolk, Gausman was 1-2 with a 4.04 ERA.
"In the future, we still think he's going to be a good starter for us," Showalter said. "I think it just so happened that they kind of needed an extra guy. I was a little bit surprised, but at the same time, I was pitching well. I'm just trying to fill a role here," Gausman said.
Showalter said that Chen initially thought he was being sent down to entry level Gulf Coast as punishment for allowing eight runs in 3 2/3 innings to Boston on Tuesday night. Showalter assured him that he was going down simply to temporarily create room in the bullpen.
"Originally, I think he was thinking he had a bad outing [Tuesday] night and we were sending him to the Gulf Coast League," Showalter said. "That wasn't the case at all. He understands. He understands."
Showalter said that he does not expect additional changes to the roster before Sunday. However, Dan Duquette, the team's executive vice president of baseball operations could always come up with a move or two.
"Not that I know of. That doesn't mean Dan doesn't have something up his sleeve," Showalter said.

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