OAKLAND, Calif. – The
But not every lingering nightmare can be erased in one season — not after years of continual ineptitude.
With a 7-3 victory Saturday afternoon against the
For the first time since 2007, the Orioles (15-9) have won a series at the
The Orioles are one win away from their first four-game sweep at Oakland in 26 years — the last one coming in May 1987.
“We have struggled here. If you look at our record here, it is not very good,” said right fielder
Using homers by Markakis,
Even an announced crowd of 31,292 that was on hand to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Oakland's 1973 World Series team couldn't shake the A's from their skid. At least they will get star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (left hand strain) back from the disabled list Sunday.
Conversely, the Orioles will be putting one of their own on the 15-day DL.
Matt Wieters, who had been the designated hitter Saturday, had to quickly don the catcher's gear and get behind the plate in the sixth.
Consequently, the Orioles lost the DH, and in the top of the seventh right-hander
“We didn't want to burn somebody with two outs. You normally start with a five-man bench and we're down to four and one is the extra catcher. So now you are down to really two extra players,” Showalter said. “You weigh the advantages you are really going to gain versus what you are going to put yourself at risk for.”
Tillman, who had batted once before in his big league career — a groundout at San Francisco in 2010 — struck out by watching three straight pitches.
“I was surprised. I wasn't really expecting to get an at-bat today,” Tillman deadpanned. “But we have to save our hitters for bigger situations.”
Tillman (1-1) was much more effective on the mound.
He labored early, allowing a run in the second and another in the third, both on RBIs by
He then retired six straight A's — and did so efficiently. He threw just 11 pitches in the fourth and 11 in the fifth.
“I thought the fourth and fifth really set him up to set up our bullpen,” Showalter said. “From there we have a pretty good shot. When he went back out there and pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth like he did, it set up a lot of good things for us.”
In his six innings, Tillman permitted two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out a season-high seven batters. It was his second consecutive quality start after not posting one in his first three outings of 2013. The Orioles have posted three consecutive quality starts and, perhaps not coincidentally, have won three straight for the first time this season.
“I was able to get into a little bit of a rhythm late in the game,” Tillman said. “Teagarden did a great job of getting me back on track.”
The Orioles gave Tillman the lead in the fourth.
Manny Machado drew a leadoff walk from A.J. Griffin (2-2), and Markakis followed with his third homer of the season, tying the game at 2-2. Two pitches later, Jones hit a rocket to deep center for his fourth homer. The Orioles added a fourth run in the inning on a RBI single by
The Orioles hadn't had back-to-back home runs since
McLouth hit his first homer of the season in the eighth against reliever
“Nate is in a good place right now,” Showalter said. “We want to keep him there by continuing to use him the way we are using him.”
The Orioles have now won 103 consecutive games when leading at the completion on seven innings.
But the real eyebrow-raiser will be if they can sweep the A's here Sunday.
“It's another challenge for us regardless of what happened the first three games. It's another day game tomorrow and in a tough place to play,” Showalter said. “I think one of the keys to being able to have a good future
OAKLAND, Calif. – The