BALTIMORE (AP) Four days after failing to muster a single hit over nine innings, the Baltimore Orioles slapped the ball all over Camden Yards against the hapless Oakland Athletics.
Adam Jones hit two home runs, Gerardo Parra had five of Baltimore’s 26 hits, and the Orioles breezed to an 18-2 victory Sunday.
After winning the first two games of the series with dramatic homers, Baltimore enjoyed a pressure-free blowout at the expense of a free-falling Oakland team that has lost six straight and 16 of 23.
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”Just went our way today, a lot of things,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The 26 hits matched a franchise record, set on Aug. 28, 1980, against the Angels. On Wednesday, Baltimore was no-hit by Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma.
”We came to swing the bats today,” Jones said.
The Orioles got 10 hits in the fifth inning alone. Homers by Parra and Jones off Kendall Graveman (6-9) helped put Baltimore up 6-1 in the third, and a nine-run fifth erased any lingering suspense.
The A’s ran through five pitchers before turning to first baseman Ike Davis, who took the mound for the second time this season. He allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth.
Baltimore will try for a sweep on Monday night. The Orioles haven’t swept a four-game series from Oakland since 1987 and have never accomplished the feat in Baltimore.
Facing the Athletics, who own the AL’s worst record, has greatly enhanced Baltimore’s playoff chances. By going 5-1 against Oakland this month, the Orioles have moved within four games of the Yankees in the AL East and are tied for the second AL wild card, pending the Los Angeles Angels’ late game in Kansas City.
”We can control our own destiny,” Jones said. ”Just go out and win games.”
Eight players had multihit games for the Orioles. Jones went 3 for 4, Parra matched his career high in hits and Caleb Joseph homered and had a career-high four RBIs. Steve Clevenger contributed a career-high four hits, and Manny Machado had three hits and three RBIs.
The beneficiary of the relentless attack was Wei-Yin Chen (7-6), who gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings. The Taiwanese left-hander is 5-0 with a 2.30 ERA in seven career starts against Oakland.
Brett Lawrie homered for the A’s, who have dropped 10 of 11 on the road, including a season-high seven straight.
Afterward, manager Bob Melvin gathered his players together behind closed doors. Oakland was not charged with an error, but there were a few plays in which a ball dropped in after the fielders appeared uncertain who was supposed to grab it.
”We had a little meeting,” Melvin said. ”We haven’t had too many of those (lopsided losses). You’re going to have some during the course of the season; sometimes it ends up exposing some things that need to be talked about.”
Graveman allowed six runs in 3 1-3 innings in his fifth consecutive losing decision. He was followed by Dan Otero, who yielded eight runs in 1 1-3 innings.
”I take full responsibility for what happened out there today,” Graveman said.
Oakland trailed 6-2 before Baltimore sent 13 players to the plate in the fifth. The key blows were a two-run single by Henry Urrutia, a two-run double by Machado and a two-run homer by Jones.
”It was more like follow the leader,” Jones said.
Having a pitcher face a position player is nothing new, except in the eighth inning Davis ended up pitching to Orioles pitcher Jason Garcia, who had been inserted in the DH spot. Garcia walked on four pitches.
”He wasn’t supposed to swing there,” Showalter said, ”but he put his batting gloves on for the photo op.”
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray will start Monday night after being sidelined since Aug. 7 with back spasms. He won’t be limited by a pitch count. ”If that were the case we probably would give it more time,” Melvin said.
Orioles: C Matt Wieters missed a fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring. If he doesn’t show improvement Monday, Wieters could go on the DL, Showalter said.
Athletics: Gray (12-4, 2.06 ERA) has accounted for nearly a fourth of Oakland’s 51 wins.
Orioles: Chris Tillman (8-7, 4.66 ERA) enters the series finale having won six straight decisions since May 31.