Four home runs and a baserunning gaffe by the Baltimore Orioles enabled the Oakland Athletics to take a wealth of momentum into their showdown with the Angels.
Nick Swisher and Mark Ellis homered off Jorge Julio in a five-run 12th inning, and the Athletics completed a four-game sweep of the Orioles with a 10-5 victory Monday.
Jay Payton and Dan Johnson also homered for the A’s, whose sixth straight win extended their lead in the American League West to one game over the idle Angels. The teams begin a three-game series tonight at Angel Stadium.
“We battled to get in this spot, and we’ve got to feel proud about what we’ve accomplished,” Swisher said. “We just want to keep it going right now; we just need to keep riding that wave.”
Oakland scored all its runs on homers. Payton hit a two-run shot in the first inning and Johnson connected with two on in the sixth. The A’s have 18 home runs in their last six games.
Kiko Calero (3-1) worked two perfect innings to seal Oakland’s first four-game sweep in Baltimore since the A’s moved from Kansas City in 1968.
The Orioles had a chance to break a 5-5 tie in the eighth, putting runners at the corners with no one out against Justin Duchscherer, but pinch-runner Luis Matos held at third base when Sal Fasano hit into a double play. Brian Roberts followed with a groundout.
Oriole interim Manager Sam Perlozzo, who spent 14 years as a third base coach, was quick to acknowledge that Matos should have been running on the play.
“That’s normally an automatic situation that you go, and obviously we didn’t, so I guess that comes back to me,” he said. “In that situation, you pretty much want to stay out of the double play no matter where the ball is hit.”
Third base coach Rick Dempsey, who moved from first base shortly after Perlozzo took over for Lee Mazzilli on Aug. 4, took the blame.
“It was bad judgment on my part,” Dempsey said. “It wasn’t [Matos’] fault at all. It was 100% my fault. He did exactly what I told him to do. I have to live with that.”
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Means of support
Runs scored by Oakland for its starting pitchers:
*--* Pitcher GS IP R AVG/9 Seth Etherton 3 17.2 18 9.17 Dan Haren 27 173.2 111 5.75 Kirk Saarloos 22 128 78 5.48 Barry Zito 28 183.1 108 5.30 Rich Harden 19 123.0 71 5.20 Joe Blanton 26 154.2 64 3.73 Ryan Glynn 3 15.0 6 3.60