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Chris Davis, bullpen help Orioles put Red Sox away late, 4-1

BOSTON — The Orioles acknowledged that they were affected by Clay Buchholz's deliberate pace Saturday at Fenway Park. Despite recording 11 hits off the Boston Red Sox right-hander over the first five innings of an eventual 4-1 win, the Orioles scored just two runs, their quick-strike offense stymied by Buchholz's methodical approach.

“They had the four-corner stall going there,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, referencing the conservative offensive strategy once used in college basketball. “It was tough keeping your concentration. … It seemed like Buchholz had thrown 120 [pitches]. He had only thrown 80 or 90. But it's all about getting that last base touched, and we weren't able to do it.”

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The Orioles (6-5) clung to a one-run lead heading into the late innings, the game resting on their beleaguered bullpen, until first baseman Chris Davis quieted the Boston crowd in the top of the ninth. He ended a three-strikeout night with a two-run homer off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to preserve a 4-1, bounce-back win over the Red Sox (7-4) before an announced sellout of 37,655.

The pressure remained on the Orioles' bullpen, especially after it had to account for 4 2/3 innings following Ubaldo Jimenez's early ejection in Friday night's 3-2, walk-off loss. But the club's relievers made a narrow lead hold up long enough for Davis' blast, posting their first scoreless outing of the season and capping 3 2/3 innings with Zach Britton's fourth save this year.

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"It was big for us as a team," Showalter said. "They've done too many things as a group to just start casting some doubts after 10 or 12 games. They'll reach back. They've got some strong leadership down there … and don't think they're going to wallow around in 'Woe is me.' "

The Orioles' bullpen, which entered the day with a 4.89 ERA, got some important outs to preserve the lead. Right-hander Brad Brach, who came into the game in the sixth for starter Chris Tillman (2-1) with two on and one out, induced an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play from Daniel Nava. Right-hander Darren O'Day erased a leadoff walk to David Ortiz in the eighth by snagging Hanley Ramirez's come-backer and starting a 1-4-3 double play.

“Anytime you can come in there and not give up runs, it's great, especially against these guys, in their park. It's always nice to go up there and put up zeros, pretty much,” Brach said. “I know we haven't discussed it in the bullpen too much, giving up runs. But we were glad to go out there today and shut them out and keep the lead.”

Facing a 3-1 count in the ninth inning, Davis, who has 18 strikeouts in 39 at-bats this season, hit a blast over the Green Monster in left field. Both of Davis' homers this season have been to the opposite field.

“I think, early in the season, in my [batting practice] and in early work, [I'm] just trying to stay on the ball as long as I can,” Davis said. “If that means going the other way or pulling the ball the right way, we talked about that a lot. In that situation, that just happened to be where that pitch was. Every pitch he threw to me in that at-bat was away. In that situation right there, a one-run game, it's big for us to get those two runs. I finally got in a favorable count and got a good pitch to drive.”

Despite 11 hits off Buchholz (1-2), the Orioles scored just two runs off him in six innings. They left the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings and stranded 10 base runners overall.

“I think that's kind of the way Clay's game is,” Davis said. “Its how he's been ever since I've known him. Played against him in college, played against him in the big leagues. He takes his time. That's what works for him, and we know that. Going up there to face him, more than anything, it's harder on our pitcher to sit in there and know that the guy is going to work at his own pace. It's part of the game. Some guys work quick. Some guys like to work a little slower. You have to make an adjustment.”

Tillman, coming off a start Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he didn't get out of the third inning and allowed seven earned runs, was two outs shy of a quality start, holding Boston to one run and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"I wanted to get back out there," Tillman said. "It felt like an eternity between starts. After those kind of starts, it's not fun. You just want to get back out there and help your team. I wanted to get a little deeper in the game today because our bullpen was in a tough situation after last night. I didn't make it any easier on them, but they did their best. … When you're able to pitch in front of these guys, you always know you have a chance."

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