|Oakland (55-45) «||0||0||0||2||1||2||0||1||0||6||11||1|
BALTIMORE -- The Oakland Athletics knew they had the potential to be one of the best teams in the majors.
They're now putting that talent on full display, and the results have thrust the surging A's to the brink of the best July in franchise history.
Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter hit two-run homers to back an effective pitching performance by Bartolo Colon, and Oakland beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 Saturday night for its ninth win in 10 games.
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Jemile Weeks had three hits and scored twice for the A's, who are 18-3 (.857) in July. With one victory in the next three games, they'll finish the month with a better winning percentage than the 1931 club (26-7, .788).
"It's been impressive -- I think for a lot of people, surprising," Weeks said. "For me, I always knew that this team was going to be somebody that could make some noise, and we're just starting to show that now. It's pleasing to see at this point."
Oakland has scored 40 runs in its last four games, including 16 in Toronto on Wednesday and 14 against the Orioles in the series opener. Saturday night, the A's combined offensive firepower and strong pitching to move in position for a sweep of fading Baltimore.
"Pitching's been our strength all year," manager Bob Melvin said. "We've come around offensively here recently. Certainly, the last month's indicative because of our record, but the pitching's been there all year."
Colon (7-8) scattered seven hits over 5 2/3 shutout innings, striking out five and walking one, to earn his first win in six starts since June 12. The 39-year-old is 12-8 with a 3.10 ERA lifetime against Baltimore, dating to 1998 when he pitched for Cleveland.
Nick Markakis' ninth-inning homer off Evan Scribner enabled the Orioles to avoid being blanked for the eighth time. Baltimore went down in order only once but stranded 11, went 0 for 6 with men in scoring position and lost for the fifth time in six games.
"They're trying. It's just not happening," manager Buck Showalter said. "I see them trying firsthand. It's not for lack of effort or lack of attention to what's causing it. When they do hit the ball on the button and it's right at somebody, it's frustrating. But if they keep going it will happen. It's not like it hasn't happened all year."
Tommy Hunter (4-6) gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander has yielded 24 home runs this season, at least one in all but two of his 16 starts.
"They hit two pretty darn good pitches," he said. "Outside of that, it is what it is."
Oakland broke on top in the fourth when Weeks led off with a single and Cespedes hit his 14th home run. The Orioles got a hit in each of the first four innings but failed four times to produce with runners in scoring position.
Carter chased Hunter in the sixth with a drive to left after Seth Smith hit a leadoff single. It was Carter's eighth homer since rejoining the A's on June 29.
"We're seeing Chris Carter [be] the guy we all hoped and anticipated him being," Melvin said. "Right now, he's quite a force and one of the reasons that, offensively, we've been so good this month."
Adam Jones grounded out in the Baltimore seventh with two outs and runners on second and third.
Weeks singled and scored on a triple by Cespedes in the eighth.
|Yoenis Cespedes homers, and has eight RBI in his last five games for the A's, winners of nine of their past 10 games. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Coco Crisp, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.253|
|Jonny Gomes, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.260|
|Jemile Weeks, 2B||5||2||3||0||0||1||3||.221|
|Seth Smith, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.251|
|Yoenis Cespedes, LF-CF||4||2||2||3||0||1||1||.302|
|Chris Carter, DH||4||1||1||2||0||2||1||.268|
|Brandon Moss, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.246|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||3||1||.206|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.213|
|Eric Sogard, SS||4||0||2||1||0||1||0||.171|
|2B - Kurt Suzuki (13, Hunter)|
|3B - Yoenis Cespedes (2, Socolovich)|
|HR - Yoenis Cespedes (14, Hunter), Chris Carter (8, Hunter)|
|RBI - Yoenis Cespedes 3 (53), Chris Carter 2 (16), Eric Sogard (7)|
|SB - Jemile Weeks (14, 2nd base off Hunter/Teagarden)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Brandon Inge (7, Misplayed grounder)|
|Bartolo Colon (W,7-8)||5.2||7||0||0||1||5||0||3.78|
|WP - Jordan Norberto (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Bartolo Colon 101-69, Jordan Norberto 22-17, Evan Scribner 30-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bartolo Colon 3-9, Jordan Norberto 3-1, Evan Scribner 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Bartolo Colon 25, Jordan Norberto 8, Evan Scribner 6|
|Nick Markakis, RF||5||1||2||1||0||0||1||.284|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||5||0||0||0||0||1||2||.223|
|Chris Davis, DH||4||0||2||0||1||2||0||.264|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.289|
|Wilson Betemit, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.251|
|Endy Chavez, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.188|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.206|
|Omar Quintanilla, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||1||3||.283|
|Taylor Teagarden, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.087|
|2B - Omar Quintanilla (7, Colon)|
|HR - Nick Markakis (9, Scribner)|
|RBI - Nick Markakis (28)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Quintanilla-Hardy-Reynolds|
|Tommy Hunter (L,4-6)||5.1||7||5||5||1||7||2||5.72|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hunter 96-62, Miguel Socolovich 33-23, Kevin Gregg 21-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hunter 6-2, Miguel Socolovich 3-2|
|Batters Faced - Tommy Hunter 23, Miguel Socolovich 10, Kevin Gregg 5|
|Attendance - 21143|
|Game Time - 3:02|
|Temperature - 88|
|Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Brian Runge, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Ted Barrett|