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Oakland at Baltimore

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Oakland «100100020470
Baltimore000000100192

Athletics beat Orioles for third successive victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- Joe Blanton will be disappointed when August ends, and it has nothing to do with the unofficial end of summer.

Blanton remained unbeaten this month and lowered his ERA in August to 0.95, allowing four hits over six shutout innings to lead the Oakland Athletics past the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Friday night.

It's been a memorable month for the rookie right-hander, who is 3-0 and has given up only four earned runs in 38 innings. He was 0-3 with a 4.44 ERA in July.

"I'm just getting more comfortable all the time," Blanton said. "I'm trying to find the strike zone more with my offspeed pitches and my fastballs."

Bobby Crosby hit a two-run homer, and Eric Chavez drove in a run and scored one for the Athletics, who have won three straight after losing seven of eight. Oakland, tied with the New York Yankees for the AL wild card lead, is 15-3 in its last 18 road games.

Brian Roberts had two hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who stranded 12 and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Baltimore has lost six of seven.

Cleanup hitter Rafael Palmeiro went 0-for-5 and is 2-for-20 since returning on Aug. 11 from a 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids. With two on in the ninth, he hit a game-ending flyout.

"He's not the only one (struggling). We've got a bunch of guys out there that are swinging at some bad pitches," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Blanton (8-9), meanwhile, would surely have a better record with more run support. Oakland has scored one run or less in 12 of his 26 starts; he got a no-decision in his last start against Kansas City despite pitching seven shutout innings.

"I don't know what it is. We go out there and try to get runs for the guy," Crosby said. "It's unfortunate that we can't get runs for him."

Blanton struck out six and walked three. He outpitched Bruce Chen (10-8), who allowed one earned run before yielding Crosby's homer in the eighth, a drive to left on a 3-1 pitch that gave the A's a 4-1 lead.

"I knew he had to come in with a strike there," Crosby said. "I was looking for a fastball, and I got it."

Huston Street, the fourth Oakland pitcher, got four outs for his 17th save.

The 24-year-old Blanton, however, was the main topic of conversation in the Oakland clubhouse.

"Six shutout innings, oh my goodness. He's been extremely impressive," A's manager Ken Macha said.

"He's got a lot of poise, a guy that doesn't really act his age on the mound, so to speak," catcher Jason Kendall said. "You can't tell it's his first full year."

Down 2-0, the Orioles got a run off Kiko Calero in the seventh. Eric Byrnes led off with a bunt single, advanced to third on a single by Luis Matos and scored on a single by Roberts. With one out, Roberts stole third, but Miguel Tejada struck out and Ricardo Rincon retired Palmeiro on a grounder.

"We had plenty of chances, no question about that," Perlozzo said. "We got a little overanxious. In those situations, we're not swinging at our pitch."

The Athletics got an unearned run in the first inning when Kendall reached on a throwing error by Tejada at shortstop and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chavez.

Oakland made it 2-0 in the fourth. Chavez led off with a single, stole second and came home on a single by Dan Johnson.

The Orioles wasted several scoring chances in the early innings. Roberts was stranded after hitting a leadoff double in the first; Matos struck out in the second with two on and two out, then struck out in the fourth with the bases loaded and two outs.

"Early in the game you get in a tough situation with runners and you're able to get out of it," Blanton said, "it kind of gives you added confidence for the rest of the game."

Notes

  • Orioles RF Sammy Sosa was scratched from Friday's game with a lesion under the toenail of his right big toe. He's day-to-day.
  • Oakland improved to 15-23 against the AL East.
  • Baltimore's Javy Lopez had a run of five straight hits over two games before grounding out in the sixth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jason Kendall beats a throw at home, sliding under catcher Javy Lopez for an Athletics score. (AP)
Jason Kendall beats a throw at home, sliding under catcher Javy Lopez for an Athletics score. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

B. Roberts
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Oakland

B. Crosby
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C4100001 .263
Mark Kotsay, CF3120101 .274
Bobby Crosby, SS3112101 .281
Eric Chavez, 3B3111002 .283
Dan Johnson, 1B4011001 .304
Jay Payton, LF4010000 .270
Scott Hatteberg, DH4000001 .264
Bobby Kielty, RF4000001 .263
Mark Ellis, 2B4010000 .306
Totals33474208 
Batting
HR - Bobby Crosby (8, Chen)
SF - Eric Chavez (7)
RBI - Bobby Crosby 2 (36), Eric Chavez (77), Dan Johnson (38)
SB - Eric Chavez (6, 2nd base off Chen/Lopez)
Team LOB - 5
Oakland Athletics
Joe Blanton (W,8-9) 6400360 3.61
Kiko Calero (H,11) 0.2311010 3.79
Ricardo Rincon (H,14) 1100010 4.91
Huston Street (S,17) 1.1100120 1.28
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 104-61, Kiko Calero 15-12, Ricardo Rincon 14-10, Huston Street 22-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 4-8, Kiko Calero 1-0, Ricardo Rincon 2-0, Huston Street 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 25, Kiko Calero 5, Ricardo Rincon 4, Huston Street 6
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4021110 .313
Melvin Mora, 3B4010012 .279
Miguel Tejada, SS4000135 .313
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B5000016 .270
Javy Lopez, C4020000 .295
Jay Gibbons, DH3000111 .259
B.J. Surhoff, RF4020002 .266
Eric Byrnes, LF3110113 .246
Luis Matos, CF4010025 .294
Totals3519141024 
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (35, Blanton), Javy Lopez (17, Blanton)
SH - Melvin Mora (7)
RBI - Brian Roberts (62)
SB - Brian Roberts (26, 3rd base off Calero/Kendall)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - B. Roberts-Palmeiro
E - Eric Byrnes (5, Wild throw), Miguel Tejada (16, Wild throw)
Baltimore Orioles
Bruce Chen (L,10-8) 7743201 3.95
Tim Byrdak 1000000 3.54
Jorge Julio 1000000 4.58
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 96-63, Tim Byrdak 9-6, Jorge Julio 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 12-9, Tim Byrdak 2-1, Jorge Julio 1-2
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 30, Tim Byrdak 3, Jorge Julio 3
Game Information
Attendance - 26105
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - Ed Rapuano