Baltimore will try to stick to the same formula as it seeks an eighth win in 10 games Saturday in Oakland.
The Orioles (14-9) claimed a 3-0 victory Friday, quieting the Athletics' bats for a second straight night after a 10-2 win Thursday. Baltimore has a 1.91 ERA over the last five games, including a masterful performance Friday from Wei-Yin Chen, who gave up three hits in eight innings.
His outing helped drop the Orioles' opponent batting average to .228. That's among the best in baseball as is the bullpen's 2.31 ERA. Closer Jim Johnson improved to 9 for 9 in save opportunities by closing out Friday's win.
The Athletics (13-11), meanwhile, have lost seven of eight. Behind the slide has been a serious drop in power production. They hit 19 home runs during a 9-2 start, the most in the majors during that span, but have just five homers while going 4-9 since. They're homerless in five of the last seven.
The loss of Yoenis Cespedes , who had three home runs before succumbing to a strained left thumb April 12, also hasn't helped, though he's likely to be activated for Sunday's game.
Oakland received a good pitching performance Friday from Tommy Milone , who gave up only an unearned run over 6 2-3 innings. But the defense didn't lend much help as the Athletics committed a season-high three errors.
"When you are in close games like that - defensive miscues end up really costing you," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's maddening for us."
Chris Tillman (0-1, 5.23 ERA) will try to continue the Orioles' strong pitching. Though his numbers aren't impressive, he's coming off his best outing of the year, holding Toronto to one run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 2-1 win.
"I was able to get ahead with my pitches early and my secondary stuff was there for me," he said. "I was able to pound the strike zone early and kind of make the pitches when I needed to."
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (2-1, 4.50 ERA) will face Baltimore for the first time as he tries to shake off the worst performance of his young career. Griffin saw his ERA double after he surrendered a career-worst nine runs - seven earned - and eight hits over four innings in a 9-6 loss at Boston on Monday.
He hadn't surrendered more than five runs in his first 18 major league starts.
"It humbles you a little bit," Griffin said. "Obviously not going to go out there and be lights out every time."
Tillman didn't record a decision in his only previous start against the Athletics, giving up two runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings May 27, 2011.
|April 07, 2013||Nolan Reimold||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tightness|
|April 05, 2013||Brian Roberts||15-Day DL||Ruptured tendon, right knee|
|April 04, 2013||Brian Roberts||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring injury|
|March 26, 2013||Wilson Betemit||60-Day DL||Right PCL tear|
|March 23, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|March 22, 2013||Tsuyoshi Wada||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|April 19, 2013||Brett Anderson||Day-to-Day||Ankle|
|April 13, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||15-Day DL||Strained muscle, left hand|
|April 12, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Strained left groin|
|April 10, 2013||Scott Sizemore||60-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|April 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sprained right wrist|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman was as surprised as anyone when manager Buck Showalter told him to grab a bat to hit in the seventh inning.
The Orioles right-hander understood the move - even if he ended up striking out.
Tillman was far more effective on the mound, pitching six innings for his first win of the season while helping Baltimore beat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Saturday.
"I wasn't expecting to get an at-bat today," said Tillman, who scattered seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. "We have to save our hitters for bigger situations. You have to pick your battles."
Tillman was pressed into hitting after an injury to catcher Taylor Teagarden forced the Orioles to abandon their DH.
Manager Buck Showalter didn't want to waste a hitter with two outs in the seventh so he opted to stick with Tillman, who had only one other at-bat in his big league career.
It didn't matter much.
The Orioles got back-to-back home runs from Nick Markakis and Adam Jones in the fourth inning, and Nate McLouth added his first of the season. Baltimore improved to 3-0 on its 11-game road trip and is in position for its first four-game sweep in Oakland since 1987.
"We have struggled and our record has not been very good here, but winning the first three is a good way to start the road trip," Markakis said. "We've got a good lineup, and when we're going good we're as good as anybody."
McLouth finished with three hits and two RBIs to spearhead Baltimore's offense.
Josh Donaldson matched his career high with four hits and two RBIs. The A's have lost four straight and eight of nine.
"We are just pressing right now and trying to do too much," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "I think everyone is just trying a little too hard right now."
The Orioles have outscored the A's 20-5 while taking the first three games of this series. They've also had three solid outings from their starting pitchers.
Tillman (1-1) settled down after a rocky start to earn his first win since Sept. 28. The right-hander, who was 9-3 a year ago, retired eight of his last 10 batters and picked off Donaldson at first in the sixth after the A's third baseman led off the inning with a single.
That gave Baltimore's bullpen a break and followed stellar starts by Jason Hammel and Wei-In Chen.
Brian Matusz , Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson pitched the final three innings to complete the Orioles eighth win in their last 10 games. Johnson pitched out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the ninth for his 10th save.
"Tilly made a lot of good pitches with his fastball, just enough to slow them down," Showalter said. "When you're facing that many left-handed hitters you better have command of the fastball."
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (2-2) allowed only five hits in seven innings but gave up two home runs for the second straight start.
The A's dropped their fourth straight and fell to 0-10 when held to under four runs.
Tillman got off to a slow start but limited the damage.
Donaldson doubled in Brandon Moss in the second, then drove in Seth Smith in the third with a sharp comebacker that appeared to ricochet off Tillman's heel and into the air behind second base.
Markakis tied it with his two-run home run on a 1-2 pitch, then Jones put the Orioles up 3-2 with his line drive over the wall in left-center. It's the first time this season Baltimore has hit back-to-back homers.
J.J. Hardy's hit-and-run single later in the inning scored Chris Davis from first base to make it 4-2.
The game was halted briefly in the bottom of the sixth when Teagarden left with a dislocated left thumb after getting hit in the hand by a foul ball. Teagarden was replaced by Matt Wieters , who was originally in the lineup as a DH.
Showalter said after the game that Teagarden will likely be placed on the disabled list.
The change forced Tillman to bat for just the second time in his career, and the right-hander struck out looking to end the seventh.
McLouth led off the eighth with his first home run of the season, then Davis had a sacrifice fly to drive in Manny Machado .
Ryan Flaherty added an RBI double in the ninth.
The A's scored once in the eighth on Josh Reddick 's sacrifice fly then loaded the bases in the ninth. But Johnson got Smith to fly out before Jed Lowrie grounded into a game-ending double play.
NOTES: The A's honored their 1973 World Series championship team during pregame ceremonies. Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Rollie Fingers were among the former players who took part. ... Baltimore INF Brian Roberts (hamstring) has resumed running but there is still no timetable for his return from the disabled list. ... Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-1) makes his first career start against the A's in the series finale. He'll oppose RHP Bartolo Colon (3-0), whose 32-inning streak without a walk ended in his most recent outing against Boston.