By Charlie O. Mallonee
Sunday afternoon in Baltimore started off with promise for the Oakland Athletics. The A’s put up three runs in the top of the first inning, and they appeared ready to do battle to win the rubber game of the three game series with the Orioles.
Instead, the A’s allowed the O’s to put on a power display that included six home runs, score 11 unanswered runs and never scored again after the first inning en route to losing the game 11-3. The loss meant the A’s also lost the series two games to one.
Oakland has now lost six of their last seven games. Even more importantly, the A’s have dropped four games under .500 for the first time this season. They are now 4.5-games behind division leading Seattle.
In the batter’s box
Manny Machado was the star of the game for the Orioles on Sunday. Machado went 2-for-4 in the game with six RBI. Both of his hits were home runs. His home run in the bottom of the eighth inning was a grand slam that put the game out of reach for the A’s. Machado now has nine home runs for the season.
Mark Trumbo went 3-for-5, had two RBI, scored a run and hit his ninth home run of the year in the game off Graveman.
Joey Rickard had a strong day at the leadoff spot for the O’s. Rickard went 2-for-4, scored three runs, had an RBI and hit his third home run of the season off Ryan Dull.
Jonathan Schoop could do no wrong on Sunday. Schoop went 3-for-4, scored two runs, recorded a RBI and hit his fifth home run of the year.
Designated Hitter Matt Wieters got in on the power act hitting his fifth round tripper of the season off Graveman in the second inning.
The Orioles scored 11 runs off 12 hits. The picked up five base-on-balls and struck out just eight times. Baltimore left 13 men on base.
The key man at the plate the A’s was Josh Reddick. Reddick went 3-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI. He has eight hits in his last eight consecutive at-bats which ties a franchise record. Reddick’s success at the plate has also caused the opposing team’s defense to abandon the shift which opens up the field for him.
Danny Valencia continues to look strong since returning to the lineup. Valencia went 2-for-4 on Sunday with a RBI.
On the hill
RHP Chris Tillman started the game for Baltimore. After giving up three to the A’s in the top of the first, no one thought Tillman would be around long enough to figure into the decision let alone pick up the win. Tillman went 6.1 innings giving up three runs (all earned) off six hits. He struck out seven and walked four. With the victory, Tillman’s record improves to 4-1 on the year.
Brad Brach and Vance Worley combined for 2.2 innings of scoreless relief for Baltimore to close out the game.
Kendall Graveman struggled again as a starter for the Athletics. Today his sinker just was not sinking. The opposing hitters were able to tee up on his pitches and drive them where they wanted the ball to go. Graveman gave up six runs on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. He walked three, struck out two and issued four home runs. Graveman took the loss and his record now stands at 1-4.
Ryan Dull and Marc Rzepczynski came on in relief of Graveman.
J.B. Wendelken – who was called up from Triple-A Nashville – saw action in his first major league game ever. He may want to forget the experience. Wendelken worked 1.1 innings and his time on the mound ended with Manny Machado hitting a grand slam home run off the rookie. It was not a storybook beginning to a career.
A’s backup catcher Josh Phegley took the mound to close out the game out for Oakland.
The A’s stay on the East Coast and open a three-game series in Boston on Monday night. Sonny Gray is scheduled to face Clay Buchholz in the series opener.
The Orioles travel to Minnesota for a three-game series with the Twins.