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Oakland edges out Baltimore to win tenth straight at home

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Frank Thomas has thrived during pennant races.

Thomas' two-run homer in the seventh inning helped Oakland beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Friday night and give the Athletics their 10th straight home win.

Melvin Mora's two-out throwing error on Milton Bradley's grounder kept the inning alive for Thomas, who connected for his 29th home run.

"I was looking to hit a home run in that situation because we needed it right there," said Thomas, who has 477 career home runs. "I've learned over the years of how to hit homers the proper way and not just go for the fence. You slow everything down and put an aggressive swing on it."

The A's moved 8½ games up on the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, their largest lead since September of 1992.

Thomas, who watched from the sidelines during the Chicago White Sox's run to the world championship last year, recorded his third straight multi-hit game and upped his average to a season-high .272. He's batting .339 (41-for-121) over his last 35 games.

"I've been in these situations before a few times and this is when you have to maximize it," Thomas said. "When you get here, you have to step on the gas."

Mark Ellis also drove in two runs for the A's, who won their fourth straight overall and improved to 27-7 since July 25.

The A's played their major-league high 43rd one-run game, winning 18 of the past 22 close contests and improving to 25-18 overall.

"This team has shown a lot of character this year," Thomas said. "We seem to find a way to get it done even when someone goes down. The pitching has been great all year and the offense always seems to get the big hit somehow."

Mora had three hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs for the Orioles, who lost for the third time in four games. Jeff Fiorentino also drove in two runs.

"It was easy for me but I just threw badly," Mora said of his error. "You have to make that play because you can't let the big guy come to the plate."

Orioles starter Erik Bedard hasn't won in his last seven starts. He gave up three runs and six hits, striking out six and walking four.

Todd Williams (2-4) got Jason Kendall and Bobby Kielty on groundouts to open the seventh. Mora fielded Bradley's grounder down the line, planted and threw wide at first. Thomas followed with his home run.

"I just tried to sink one and I made a mistake," Williams said. "It wasn't a very good pitch and he still hit it out. My inning turned into a fiasco for me."

Brad Halsey (4-4) pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up a pair of hits and striking out two, to gain the win. Justin Duchscherer picked up his seventh save in nine chances.

Oakland starter Joe Blanton allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.

"I really didn't have anything to work with so I had to throw everything at them and try not to walk guys," Blanton said. "We won, so I'm happy."

Mora gave the Orioles a quick lead in the first when he hit Blanton's 2-1 pitch into the left field bleachers. It was Mora's first extra base hit and home run since Aug. 18. It also snapped Blanton's career-best 46-inning, 203-batter homerless streak.

Ellis' two-out double in the second scored Jay Payton to tie the game, and his fourth-inning single put the A's ahead 2-1.

David Newhan and Mora hit back-to-back two-out doubles in the fifth to tie the game and Fiorentino -- playing in the majors for the first time in more than a year -- singled home two runs in the sixth to put the Orioles up 4-2.


  • A's 3B Eric Chavez missed the game when an MRI on Thursday revealed a moderate sprain on the inside of his right ankle.
  • Orioles C Ramon Hernandez missed his second game with a strained ribcage.
  • Orioles OF Corey Patterson missed his third straight with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.
  • A's RHPs Huston Street and Rich Harden each threw a bullpen session of 30 pitches.
  • Fiorentino appeared in 13 games last year for the Orioles.
  • The A's allowed more than three runs for the first time in eight games.
  • The A's won 10 straight at home for the first time since winning 12 straight between Aug. 13-Sept. 2, 2002.
Copyright 2015 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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Milton Bradley (left) greets Frank Thomas after Thomas' two-run homer in the seventh.  (AP)
Milton Bradley (left) greets Frank Thomas after Thomas' two-run homer in the seventh. (AP)

Players of the Game

F. Thomas
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

M. Mora
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1

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Baltimore Orioles
David Newhan, CF5130000
Melvin Mora, 3B5132001
Nick Markakis, RF4000013
Miguel Tejada, SS3010101
Jay Gibbons, DH4010011
Kevin Millar, 1B3100122
Chris Gomez, 2B3110002
   a- Brian Roberts, PH-2B1000000
Jeff Fiorentino, LF4012000
Danny Ardoin, C3000011
   b- Brandon Fahey, PH1000000
a-grounded out for Gomez in the 8th
b-grounded out for Ardoin in the 9th
2B - David Newhan (, Blanton), Melvin Mora (, Blanton), Chris Gomez (, Blanton)
HR - Melvin Mora (, Blanton)
RBI - Melvin Mora 2 (), Jeff Fiorentino 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Melvin Mora (), Jeff Fiorentino 2 ()
Team LOB - 7
E - Melvin Mora (, )
Baltimore Orioles
Erik Bedard 6633460
Todd Williams (BS,; L,-) 1320101
James Hoey 1000010
IBB - Swisher by Todd Williams
WP - Erik Bedard ()
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 105-60, Todd Williams 24-15, James Hoey 14-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 5-6, Todd Williams 4-0, James Hoey 2-0
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 27, Todd Williams 8, James Hoey 3
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C5010000
Bobby Kielty, LF5010011
Milton Bradley, RF3100121
Frank Thomas, DH4222002
Jay Payton, CF2220200
Nick Swisher, 1B2000210
Mark Ellis, 2B4032002
Marco Scutaro, SS4001005
Antonio Perez, 3B4000031
2B - Jason Kendall (, Bedard), Bobby Kielty (, Bedard), Jay Payton (, T. Williams), Mark Ellis (, Bedard)
HR - Frank Thomas (, T. Williams)
RBI - Frank Thomas 2 (), Mark Ellis 2 (), Marco Scutaro ()
2-OUT RBI - Frank Thomas 2 (), Mark Ellis ()
SB - Jay Payton (, 2nd base off Bedard/Ardoin)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Scutaro-Ellis-Swisher
Oakland Athletics
Joe Blanton 6744221
Brad Halsey (W,-) 1.1200020
Kiko Calero (H,) 0.2000010
Justin Duchscherer (S,) 1100000
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 97-60, Brad Halsey 20-12, Kiko Calero 9-6, Justin Duchscherer 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 6-10, Brad Halsey 1-0, Kiko Calero 1-0, Justin Duchscherer 2-1
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 27, Brad Halsey 5, Kiko Calero 2, Justin Duchscherer 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31179
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Bob Davidson