BALTIMORE -- The Oakland Athletics didn't merely survive a franchise-record run of 28 games in 28 days; they thrived far better than anyone could have imagined.
Landon Powell homered in Oakland's four-run fourth inning and the Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Wednesday to win a third straight series for the first time since April 2008.The A's on Thursday will get their first day off since the All-Star break. They went 14-14 during the stretch, much to the delight of manager Bob Geren."Everybody's contributed, everybody's played hard," Geren said. "You look at the 28 days and how difficult it was going to be, but the guys rose to the challenge. They all deserve a lot of credit."Rookie Vin Mazzaro (4-8) allowed three runs, two earned, in 5 1/3 innings to post his second consecutive win after an eight-game skid.Andrew Bailey worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 21 opportunities.Cliff Pennington and Scott Hairston had three hits apiece for the A's, who took two of three from Baltimore. After winning three of four from the Texas Rangers and going 2-1 against the Kansas City Royals, Oakland has captured three successive series for the first time since besting the Royals, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners from April 18-27, 2008.The A's are in the AL West cellar, but their spirit obviously has not been broken."It was a good trip. We have a day off, then a nice little homestand," Geren said. "The guys are up for it."Aubrey Huff homered and Nick Markakis had three hits for the Orioles, who lost the season series to Oakland 5-1."We need to get some luck on our side," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "We didn't do enough things right to win the game. They did. That's what it usually boils down to."The Athletics stranded runners at the corners in the first inning and left the bases loaded in the second before breaking through in the fourth against Jason Berken (2-10).After Tommy Everidge doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mark Ellis, Powell hit a drive over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field to put Oakland ahead for good. The home run was particularly satisfying for Powell because several family members drove up from North Carolina to see him play."Both sets of grandparents, some people who really have never seen me play much," Powell said. "My grandparents are in their 80s and have never seen me play pro ball, so it was kind of cool."After the home run, Pennington reached on a bunt and worked his way to third before scoring on a fly ball by Adam Kennedy.Although Berken held Oakland scoreless in four of his five innings, the fourth was too much to overcome."I was able to get out of those first couple jams, but that fourth inning was the one that hurt," Berken said. "I wish I could have limited them to less than four runs, obviously."Held to four hits over five innings by Mazzaro, the Orioles closed to 4-3 in the fifth. Huff hit a two-run homer before Luke Scott doubled and scored on an error by Rajai Davis, who misplayed a single to center by Matt Wieters. The miscue ended a season-high streak of seven straight errorless games by Oakland.But Wieters was stranded at third, and Baltimore also left a runner at third in the seventh."We were trying to get momentum back on our side," Trembley said, "but we just couldn't do it."The A's added a run in the eighth when Ryan Sweeney doubled and scored on a wild pitch. Davis tripled in the ninth and scored on a single by Hairston.
The A's have a stolen base in nine straight games, their longest streak since an identical run from Aug. 28-Sept. 6, 1989. ... Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen (bruised shin) had his throwing program curtailed because of continued pain and might spend two more weeks on the disabled list, Trembley said. ... Markakis has reached by hit, walk or HBP in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors and one short of his career high.