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BALTIMORE (AP) — As the AL East-champion Baltimore Orioles move closer to the postseason, one question that must be answered in the next week or so is: What to do with rookie Kevin Gausman?
Gausman left with a blister after throwing five innings Friday night in Baltimore's 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Boston Red Sox.
The right-hander hasn't won a game in six starts since mid-August, which hasn't exactly enhanced his stature on a solid pitching staff.
"Honesty, I don't know what my role would be," Gausman said. "It's one of those things where I'm going to pitch when they tell me to pitch. Whether I'm in the bullpen or starting, either way it'll be fine and it will be awesome."
Gausman gave up two earned runs and seven hits in five innings, the most damaging blows successive home runs by David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth
"Obviously, I never like to give up back-to-back homers but those are two really good hitters," he said.
Finally, a blister ended his night.
"We originally thought that my nail was coming up," Gausman said, "but then when we finally looked at it after the game, kind of found a blood blister under my nail."
Although the Orioles are still in the running for home-field advantage throughout the postseason, manager Buck Showalter rested several regulars, including Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis.
The Red Sox, who reside at the opposite end of the AL East standings, long ago stopped playing meaningful games. But this one carried some significance for Ortiz, now in his 12th season with Boston.
He hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and added a two-run drive in the 10th off Darren O'Day (5-2), his sixth multihomer game of the season and 47th of his career.
Ortiz now has 34 homers and 102 RBIs, the club-record eighth time he has had a 30/100 season — passing Ted Williams. At 38, Ortiz is the oldest major leaguer to go 30/100 since Frank Thomas did it at the same age in 2006.
"I don't know if you can say enough positives or accolades about David Ortiz, not just about what he did tonight but what he's done over an incredible career," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Considering how many RBIs and how many home runs he has contributed this year, who knows where we'd be without him?"
Ortiz also moved into a second-place tie with Jim Rice for 100-RBI seasons with Boston, one behind Williams, who had nine.
"It's a big compliment to be mentioned with him. It's something I have done with a lot of consistency and hard work," Ortiz said. "I have to come in and do my best every day regardless of how the team is playing."
This is one of those years in which the Red Sox are faring poorly, despite Ortiz's impressive numbers.
"It's too bad that we have had the kind of season where we aren't in it," said Ortiz, who moved into a tie with Dave Winfield for 33rd on the career home run list with 465.
In the race for best record in the AL, Baltimore fell three games behind the Los Angeles Angels, who faced Texas later Friday night.
The most prominent starter in the lineup was Nelson Cruz, who had three hits, as did Alejandro De Aza.
Junichi Tazawa (4-3) worked the ninth and Edward Mujica got three outs to secure his seventh save and end Boston's five-game losing streak against Baltimore.
Down 3-1 in the seventh, the Orioles used a two-out double by De Aza, a pinch-hit triple by Delmon Young, and a throwing error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts to tie it.
Young is 10 for 20 as a pinch hitter this season.
Red Sox: It will take some time before INF Brock Holt (concussion) is ready to return. "There are still some important steps he has to complete," Farrell said.
Orioles: Markakis missed a second straight game with a sore shoulder. He was struck with a pitch on Tuesday.
"It was not a glancing blow," manager Buck Showalter said before the game. "Nicky's pretty sore today, but he's available."
Winless in his last six starts, Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (4-7, 4.31 ERA) tries to break the cycle Saturday night against the Orioles, who will start Chris Tillman (12-5, 3.29), their likely choice to pitch Game 1 of the playoffs.
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