Boston takes series, slows O's in WC chase

Boston takes series, slows O's in WC chase

BOSTON -- The "bullpen day" worked to perfection for the Red Sox, as seven relievers stifled the Orioles en route to an 8-0 victory on Saturday at Fenway Park.

Craig Breslow made his first career start, going four innings. From there, interim manager Torey Lovullo trotted out Heath Hembree (winning pitcher), Matt Barnes, Alexi Ogando, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez and Jonathan Aro.

"If you shut a team like the Baltimore Orioles out, those guys were doing something right coming out of the bullpen," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "You kind of have your backs up against the wall when you have a 'pen day. You know it's going to be a little bit of a challenge. You know you're one or two moments away from digging deep into that bullpen and making it tough in the coming days. But they all stepped up and did a good job."

Breslow's scoreless outing

The Red Sox have held the Orioles scoreless through the first 18 innings of this three-game series, as Rich Hill fired a complete-game shutout on Friday. With the loss, Baltimore falls to 4 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot.

With some recent injuries to the rotation and the Red Sox keeping an eye on innings limits for some of their younger pitchers, the club decided that going with all relief pitchers was the best option. It was hard to argue with the results.

Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo led the offense with two hits each. The game was scoreless through four, but the Red Sox scored eight runs in the next four innings. Half of Boston's runs came on a pair of errors by third baseman Manny Machado. First baseman Steve Pearce also made an error for Baltimore that led to a couple of unearned runs.

Swihart, Betts cross the dish

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Breslow strong in first career start: After 522 appearances as a reliever, Breslow finally got to find out what starting was all about. The lefty went four shutout innings and allowed two hits and two walks while striking out two. The four innings marked a career high. More >

"It was [fun]," Breslow said. "Now that it's done and it went pretty well, it was a lot of fun. At the time, I was consumed by some other thoughts. It was a lot of fun. I don't know how many guys make 500-some odd career relief appearances and then get a chance to start their first big league game."

Chen loses steam: After cruising through four innings, Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen lost his edge. First, he gave up a one-out walk and an RBI double to Josh Rutledge in the fifth. Then, in the sixth, he surrendered consecutive two-out hits to put Baltimore in a 2-0 hole.

 "In the fifth and sixth innings, they were starting to foul my pitches off, and also there were a couple of pitches where I would like to get the call, but I didn't," Chen said through a translator. "I kind of lost my command out there, and unfortunately I didn't get it back in time."

Machado's blunders: Machado made two errors that cost Baltimore two runs apiece. With two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the seventh, he let a ground ball by Xander Bogaerts slip under his glove and into left field. Both runners scored as the Red Sox doubled their lead to 4-0. Then, in the eighth, Machado missed another Bogaerts grounder, this time with the bases loaded. Two runs scored to make it 8-0.

Two Red Sox score on error

"He spoils us at a very high level of play," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "People expect him to catch everything and he just about does."

Betts continues on-base streak: By going 2-for-4, Betts reached base in his 29th consecutive game. Betts has also scored in his last seven games. Betts has 62 extra-base hits, the most by a Red Sox player under 23 years old since Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr in 1940.

Betts' RBI ground-rule double

QUOTABLE
"Again, if I was going to go out there, I was going to play the part and look the part as much as possible. I'm not sure that a drastic career change is in store." -- Breslow, on playing starter for a day

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Orioles had not been shut out in two straight games by the same team since July 7-8, 2012, against the Angels. 

WHAT'S NEXT
Orioles: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez takes the ball for Baltimore in a 1:35 p.m. ET start at Fenway Park. Jimenez faced the Red Sox on Sept. 15 and allowed four runs in five frames.

Red Sox: Lefty Henry Owens draws the assignment for the Red Sox in the home finale. Owens hopes to duplicate the success he had against the Orioles on Sept. 16, when he fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.