Athletics-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore lineup and Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez are probably eager to get back in action for very different reasons. While Baltimore’s batters had to sit through an off day after being no-hit, Jimenez is coming off his best start of the season.

The former can get back on track Friday night against what figures to be the visiting Oakland Athletics’ Triple-A call-up as the latter seeks a follow-up gem.

Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma baffled Baltimore (57-56) in its 3-0 loss Wednesday to send it to a second straight series defeat, and Adam Jones wasn’t just brushing it off and looking ahead.

"It’s not just a normal loss," Jones said after watching his average dip to .174 in 11 games this month. "We’re going down in the history books on the bad side of a no-hitter."

Jimmy Paredes is hitting .077 in his last eight games, and Gerardo Parra is at .196 in 11 contests with the Orioles after batting .328 in Milwaukee. Matt Wieters wasn’t in the lineup because of a hamstring strain suffered Tuesday, and he’s considered day to day.

Jimenez (9-7, 3.79 ERA) saw his ERA balloon to a season-high 4.04 before the right-hander limited the Los Angeles Angels to two hits in eight innings of Saturday’s 5-0 road win.

"I really needed it," Jimenez told MLB’s official website. "It’s not easy coming to the stadium every day, and know you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do – especially with the situation we’re in, fighting for a playoff spot."

He’s had an easier time at home with a 6-2 record and 2.87 ERA in nine starts, and he’s gone at least seven innings in seven of those. He came nowhere near that in his last start against the A’s, surrendering six runs and two hits with five walks in 2 1-3 innings of an 11-1 home loss on June 8, 2014.

Brett Lawrie (3 for 8), Billy Butler (9 for 28) and Josh Reddick (3 for 10) have all homered against him, but Danny Valencia (1 for 8) and Eric Sogard (0 for 6) have struggled.

Collectively, that group did little in Toronto as the A’s (51-65) were swept in three games. They scored seven runs in the series and are batting .214 in the last 14 games.

Butler is hitting .159 in his last 20 contests, but Lawrie broke from a 1-for-18 slump by going 2 for 4. Valencia went hitless for the first time in his seven games with the A’s, including hitting into a bases-loaded double play in the first inning. Oakland is batting .198 with runners in scoring position over the last 10.

"That can be a little disheartening," manager Bob Melvin said.

The bigger problem might be keeping runs off the board on the road. Over a 1-7 away span since the All-Star break, Oakland starters have a 6.63 ERA, and that’s not being helped by the uncertainty surrounding Sonny Gray. The A’s ace was scratched Thursday due to back spasms and he won’t start the series opener, which likely leaves Oakland with Brad Mills from Triple-A to make his MLB season debut.

The left-hander is 4-11 with a 4.45 ERA in 22 starts with Nashville. Mills is 4-4 with an 8.15 ERA in 13 starts and seven relief efforts over parts of five seasons with Oakland, Toronto and the Los Angeles Angels, but strangely he’s won all three starts against the Orioles with a 1.56 ERA. Jones is 1 for 8 with a home run and three strikeouts against him.

Baltimore won two of three in Oakland from Aug. 3-5, knotting the series at 17-all since 2011.