With two series remaining against postseason contenders, a last-place team is threatening to deliver the biggest blow to the Baltimore Orioles' playoff hopes.
The Boston Red Sox will go for a series win over visiting Baltimore on Saturday as the Orioles try to improve their dwindling wild-card chances.
The Orioles (76-77) had won 11 of 15 entering Friday's opener, but a 7-0 loss kept them stuck in the middle of a crowded wild-card race. Baltimore won 11 of its first 15 against Boston this season, but the Red Sox have taken the last two.
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''We can't throw in the towel now just because we lost,'' said catcher Caleb Joseph after Rich Hill's two-hit shutout.
The Orioles finish an 11-game road trip with two more at Fenway Park before closing the season at home against AL East leader Toronto and wild card-leading New York.
A three-game winning streak for Baltimore and a three-game losing streak for the Red Sox ended when Mookie Betts robbed Chris Davis of a home run for the final out of the series opener.
The Orioles hope Wei-Yin Chen (10-7, 3.36 ERA) can mimic Hill's performance in the middle game.
Chen regrouped from a pair of rough outings with wins in his last two. The left-hander allowed three earned runs in 14 innings in wins over Kansas City and Tampa Bay.
He picked up his career-high 19th quality start last Saturday, holding the Rays to one run in seven innings of a 2-1 victory.
Chen's six career wins against the Red Sox are his most versus any opponent, but they have beaten him four times behind a .292 batting average.
Dustin Pedroia has crushed Chen with a .486 average, six doubles and a triple. David Ortiz (.308), Jackie Bradley Jr. (3 for 6) and Hanley Ramirez (2 for 5) have also fared well against Chen.
Ortiz had three doubles and three RBIs in the series opener, while Pedroia is hitting .386 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last 10. Sixty two of Ortiz's 104 RBIs have come at home.
"I've been saying all year you can just book him for 30 and 100, it's a given here at Fenway Park," interim manager Torey Lovullo told MLB's official website.
As Boston (73-80) continues to change things up in its front office - the latest move hiring Frank Wren as senior vice president of baseball operations Friday - one role has also shifted on the field.
Craig Breslow (0-3, 4.53) has made 522 relief appearances in his career but gets his first start Saturday. The left-hander is expected to throw around 40 pitches in what the Red Sox are calling a "bullpen day."
Breslow has made 43 appearances this season, struggling to an 0-2 record and 8.36 ERA since Aug. 4. He has a 2.01 ERA in 38 outings against Baltimore, but it rises to 4.22 over his last seven.
He has held Davis (1 for 16), J.J. Hardy (0 for 9) and Matt Wieters (0 for 5) in check, though Manny Machado has a home run and double in six at-bats.
Baltimore's Adam Jones has missed four straight games dealing with back spasms, while Boston's Pablo Sandoval has been out the last five due to pneumonia.