The Baltimore Orioles needed something different Sunday if they were ever going to figure out how to win in the Oakland Coliseum.
It turns out all they needed was to play in daylight.
Baltimore continued its mastery of day baseball, winning for an American League-leading 28th time in 42 chances, to stave off a three-game sweep at the hand of the A’s, who as hosts had beaten the Birds 16 of their previous 18 meetings dating back to 2008.
Catcher Matt Wieters led the Orioles’ 9-5 victory by hitting two home runs and reaching base four times in all. Oakland’s pitchers were more than generous in allowing nine walks. The Orioles moved to within two games of the A’s lead in the wild-card standings with their 27th win in 40 games. Baltimore also remained one game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
The A’s slipped three games behind victorious Texas in the AL West race.
“Games like today are going to happen, but we took two of three from them,” A’s catcher George Kottaras said. “I keep saying it, but this team is young, and if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be OK.”
The Orioles broke it open in the seventh with a three-run rally. Wieters and Mark Reynolds drew walks to open the frame before rookie third baseman Manny Machado doubled to left-center to plate the first run. Endy Chavez’s single to center against a drawn-in infield scored two more against Tyson Ross, Oakland’s fifth pitcher in three innings.
A’s right fielder Josh Reddick found his stroke again to belt a 2-0 pitch into the right field seats with a runner on in the first inning for his 29th homer. Reddick came in having gone just 8-for-55 (.145) with three RBI over 14 games. Collin Cowgill led off the game with a double two batters earlier.
Wieters cut the early deficit in half with the first of his two homers. A’s starter and loser Dan Straily (2-1) had retired the first four Orioles he faced. He never returned to his early-game form.
“I just made a lot of mistakes plain and simple, I just didn’t get the job done today,” Straily said.
The A’s season-long struggles with the strikeout continued. When Stephen Drew went down swinging to lead off the sixth against Orioles reliever Brian Matusz (6-10), it marked a franchise record for A’s batters striking out. Their 1,231 strikeouts top the previous team record of 1,226 set in 2008.