The Baltimore Orioles haven't swept a four-game series visiting the Oakland Athletics in 26 years. If that's going to change on Sunday, they'll have to get past veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon , and possibly slugger Yoenis Cespedes .
The Orioles (15-9) earned their first set of back-to-back wins at Oakland since 2005 on Thursday and Friday, and a 7-3 victory on Saturday puts them in position for their first four-game sweep at Oakland since May 22-25, 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 (11-game) road trip," said Nick Markakis , who hit one of the team's three homers Saturday. "We've got a good lineup, and when we're going good we're as good as anybody."
The A's (13-12), losers of four straight and eight of nine, are lacking that confidence."We are just pressing right now and trying to do too much," manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland is on the verge of getting swept at home in a four-game set for the first time since April 26-29, 1999, versus Cleveland.
Colon (3-0, 2.42 ERA), who was on that Indians team, could help the A's get back on track as he's enjoying one of his best starts in years. The 39-year-old right-hander struck out a season-high seven and walked his first batter of the season on Tuesday, a 13-0, rain-shortened seven-inning complete game victory at Boston."That's the perfect guy to have on the mound in games like that," Melvin said, "a guy who's going to throw strikes, doesn't let the conditions affect him and keeps everybody on their toes because they know, potentially, the ball's going to be in play very quickly."He was the right man for the job."
Colon has done the job in his last five starts versus Baltimore, going 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA.
The A's might need a similar effort from the right-hander the way they've been struggling at the plate. Over the last nine games, they're batting .218 with four homers, none in this series.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson has been one of the few bright spots. He's batting .579 (11 for 19) with eight RBIs over the last six games after matching a career high with four hits and driving in two on Saturday.
The possible return of Cespedes from a strained left thumb could add some much-needed pop to an A's lineup that hit a major league-best 19 homers during its 9-2 start. He's been rehabbing at Triple-A Sacramento and could be activated on Sunday.
Sunday's scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.13) has never faced Cespedes or anyone else on the Athletics. He'll take the mound for the first time since going six innings in Tuesday's 4-3 victory over Toronto. The right-hander picked up the win after allowing just three hits and no runs until his final frame.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones , who homered on Saturday - his first in Oakland - will try to extend his team-best hitting streak to nine and hit safely in his 10th straight road game against the A's.
Jones is 6 for 23 off Colon. Markakis is 7 for 26 with four doubles against the right-hander.
|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) -- His face full of dirt and his body atop the third base bag, Eric Sogard was more concerned with being safe than watching the throw from Baltimore's Manny Machado sail into left field.
For a few moments, it even looked as if Sogard would stay put on the ground.
Sogard eventually got to his feet and scrambled home, making a headfirst dive with the winning run in the 10th inning that lifted the Oakland Athletics over the Orioles 9-8 Sunday.
"I was trying to read the crowd whether I was safe or out," said Sogard, who singled leading off the inning. "Everyone was screaming at me to go and I didn't know what was going on. I was just trying to figure out what the play was, where the ball ended up (and) whether I was just safe."
Down 5-0 in the sixth, the A's tied it at 8 on Yoenis Cespedes ' two-run homer with one out in the ninth. He was activated from the disabled list before the game after being out with a strained muscle in his left hand.
The Athletics ended a four-game losing streak and prevented Baltimore from a four-game sweep.
Sogard hit a leadoff single in the 10th and moved to second when reliever Pedro Strop (0-1) made a wide throw to second on Adam Rosales ' bunt. Coco Crisp followed with a sacrifice bunt and Machado threw wildly past to shortstop J.J. Hardy covering third.
"I'm proud that they went for it. I would have too," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his defense. "You have to take a pop at it or they have too many things set up."
Cespedes also singled and scored during Oakland's four-run sixth inning. The A's are 9-2 with the Cuban slugger in their lineup this season and 5-10 without him.
"He's very impactful, obviously," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That home run was kind of what he's all about. We need him in the lineup and he showed today why."
Seth Smith also homered for Oakland. Coco Crisp had two hits and scored twice and Josh Donaldson drove in two runs.
Chris Davis hit his team-leading ninth home run, a solo shot in the eighth that put Baltimore ahead 7-6. Machado added an RBI double in the ninth.
Nate McLouth , who scored four times, and Machado each had four hits for the Orioles.
Baltimore was trying for its first four-game sweep at the Coliseum since 1987. The Orioles lost for just the fourth time in 13 games.
Orioles closer Jim Johnson had pitched four times in the previous five games and was unavailable. Strop had also struggled in recent outings, which is why Showalter stayed with the left-handed Brian Matusz against Cespedes in the ninth.
Jerry Blevins (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.
Davis had a two-run double off Oakland starter Bartolo Colon in the fourth and later homered off Sean Doolittle .
The A's scored four runs in the sixth. Smith hit a tying two-run homer in the seventh.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez , who allowed only two baserunners through the first five innings, gave up four in the sixth.
NOTES: Colon has walked just one batter in 32 innings this season. ... The A's scratched LHP Brett Anderson from his scheduled start Monday due to lingering soreness in his right ankle. RHP Dan Straily (1-0) will replace Anderson and start against the Angels. ... Baltimore placed backup catcher Taylor Teagarden on the 15-day DL with a dislocated left thumb. ... To make room for Cespedes, OF Casper Wells was designated for assignment. ... LHP Zach Britton will make his first start this year when the Orioles begin a three-game series in Seattle. Britton, who was recalled from the minors on Thursday, is 16-14 in two seasons with Baltimore.