BALTIMORE (AP) — Just over a week after being humiliated in Oakland, the Baltimore Orioles pushed aside the struggling Athletics to pull off a sweep of their own.
Rookie Zach Britton took a four-hitter into the seventh inning, Mark Reynolds homered, and the Orioles beat the Athletics 3-2 on Wednesday night to stretch Oakland’s losing streak to nine games.
The Athletics haven’t won since outscoring Baltimore 16-8 during a three-game sweep on May 27-29. In the rematch at Camden Yards, Oakland managed only four runs in three games and never held the lead.
“The first series with them we didn’t hit in certain situations and we didn’t make key pitches in certain situations,” Orioles closer Kevin Gregg said. “We really gave away three games to them at their place. Here, we played the game right.”
And Oakland did not.
“They outscored us, they outpitched us, they outhit us,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “That equals losses.”
The trio of defeats left the Athletics mired in their longest slide since a 10-game run in 2008.
“It’s the way the game goes,” Oakland starter Josh Outman said. “Once we get a couple wins, we’ll get our swagger back and will get back some of our confidence.”
A’s second baseman Jemile Weeks went 2 for 3 and scored both Oakland runs. The former first-round draft pick went hitless in his major league debut Tuesday night.
“I am excited. This is something I hope to do all season as long as I am here,” Weeks said. “This is what they want to see from me, and it’s what I do.”
J.J. Hardy drove in a run for the Orioles, who have won four of five. It was their first three-game sweep of the A’s in Baltimore since July 21-23, 1998.
“It feels good to get wins,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “We got some good starting pitching and a good bullpen in this series. If our starting pitching keeps throwing like it did this series, then we’re going to be a lot better ball club.”
Britton (6-4) allowed four hits and two walks in 6 1-3 innings. The left-hander, who tied his career high with six strikeouts, was 0-3 in six starts since May 1.
Asked to assess his performance, Britton said, “I thought it was pretty good, obviously better than the previous couple outings.”
Jim Johnson gave up an unearned run in 1 2-3 innings and Gregg worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
Baltimore got all its runs in the fifth inning against Outman (1-1). Vladimir Guerrero hit a leadoff single, advanced on a two-out wild pitch and scored on a single by Hardy. Reynolds followed with his 10th home run.
Oakland ended a string of 19 straight scoreless innings in the sixth. After singles by Weeks and Coco Crisp put runners at the corners with no outs, Daric Barton hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
The A’s closed to 3-2 in the eighth. Left fielder Nolan Reimold misjudged a line drive by Weeks for a three-base error and Crisp followed with a sacrifice fly.
The A’s made two exceptional fielding plays in the early going. Crisp tracked down a liner to deep center by Guerrero, and shortstop Cliff Pennington dived deep in the hole to snare a grounder before rising to his feet and throwing out Hardy.
Backed with that kind of defensive support and aided by a double play, Outman faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings.
But Baltimore broke open the scoreless duel in the fifth.
Outman allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. Oakland starters are 0-8 with a 6.88 ERA during the nine-game losing streak.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)