Boston came back against three relievers in the seventh inning, tagging Baltimore for four hits and four late runs. The first batters all reached base in that rally, handing the O's their first bullpen loss since closer Chris Ray went on the disabled list. Prior to that result, the O's had saved five straight games.
"We've got men down there. What those guys have done is phenomenal," said manager Dave Trembley. "The contributions they've all made have been totally unselfish. Those guys have gone above and beyond what the expectations are as far as contributing to the success of the team."
With Ray out, Trembley has been forced to use Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker later in the game. Consequently, that means that he hasn't had the situational arms that he'd normally use in the sixth or seventh inning. And by extension, that's caused a ripple effect in the rest of the bullpen.
"You've got to mix and match guys," said Trembley, who is 21-15 since taking over as field boss. "You can't overextend them, but you've also got to try to do what you've got to do to win the game. What it does is give guys other opportunities to pitch. Sometimes it happens for you and it works out. And sometimes, it doesn't."
The game turned on that fact Wednesday. Veteran Paul Shuey, who hasn't been used in many late-game pressure spots, walked one batter and gave up a hit to open the seventh. Then the Orioles went to John Parrish, who allowed a run-scoring double to David Ortiz and intentionally walked Manny Ramirez.
Finally, Bradford came in and gave up a tie-breaking double to Kevin Youkilis. Shuey, the first man out of the bullpen, was also the first reliever to make eye contact and offer his thoughts to the media.
"The biggest thing that bothers me is putting Parrish in that position where he's gotta face Big Papi with nobody out," he said. "If I get my job done, it's two outs and Big Papi's up. And I think there's a good chance JP can strike him out in that situation. It's all about everybody getting their job done. I was the key ingredient to not getting it done tonight."
Trachsel had been involved in a lot of rumors in the weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but his pitching seemed to stop them cold. The veteran pitched to an 0-3 record and a 9.22 ERA in his previous six starts, but kept Boston (65-42) from converting its chances Wednesday.
The right-hander allowed five hits and five walks but got a double play in the first inning and stranded two runners in the third, fifth and sixth. The only run he allowed was unearned. Despite his success, Trachsel threw 109 pitches, forcing the Orioles to go the bullpen earlier than they may have liked.
"The pace was a little slower than I wanted, but it's a tough lineup," he said. "They've got a lot of guys that have given me a tough time in the past. I just really wanted to make sure I trusted every pitch and was doing everything I needed to do to make sure I executed. I really kept the ball down real well today, which was another big thing I wanted to do."
"We needed him to get deep into the game and he did," added Trembley. "If he would've stayed away from some of the walks he might have been able to go a little further. You can't really differentiate with him. He did a good job in this ballpark to a great lineup. ... He made some big pitches with guys on base [and] he had a knack for walking the tightrope, so to speak."
Baltimore (50-56) took a lead in the first inning on a home run by Nick Markakis and scored twice more in the second off Boston's Julian Tavarez. Chris Gomez drove in one run on a double off the top of the Green Monster and Miguel Tejada homered over the wall in the eighth for the final run.
Shuey, who's had four hip operations to keep his big-league dreams alive, seemed to take Wednesday's loss particularly hard. He was perturbed by walking leadoff man Julio Lugo moreso than allowing the hit to Dustin Pedroia.
"With Lugo right there, I'm just trying to get ahead of him -- basically get ahead and put him away," he said. "Instead, I ended up walking him because my command was poor. Actually, I think I made some decent pitches to Pedroia and he made a good swing on a split down.
"That's the end of my day and I feel like a real jerk for [ruining] a great outing by Trachsel. I thought he really battled through. We had a lot of positives in tonight's game -- it's just a real shame to lose."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.