Athletics-Orioles Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 26, 2012
The Oakland Athletics saw their longest winning streak in almost three years come to an end in their last game, but that doesn't mean their confidence has wavered any. The Athletics continue their six-game road trip Friday night with the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles. Oakland's seven-game run was snapped with a 10-4 loss at Toronto on Thursday. After a 16-0 win the night before matched the biggest shutout in franchise history, the Athletics were limited to five hits, including home runs by Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge. Even with the loss, Oakland (53-45) has won 16 of 19 and feels good about where it's at. "One of the reasons we've been successful is everyone's got a short memory here,'' Jonny Gomes said. "When we lose, once we leave these double doors, we clean the slate and come back ready to play tomorrow." That confidence surely stems from the Athletics' pitching staff, which leads the AL with a 3.37 ERA. Oakland's staff had a 2.37 ERA in the 18 games prior to Thursday's loss while the starters had a 2.15 ERA during the seven-game streak. Scheduled starter Jarrod Parker (7-4, 3.00 ERA) has played a big role in that success. He gave up one run and five hits in eight innings of a 2-1 victory over New York on Saturday. It was the fifth time in seven starts the rookie allowed one or no runs. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last three road starts, walking five and striking out 19. He'll be facing a Baltimore (52-47) team that is also contending for one of the two AL wild card spots. The Orioles, though, have struggled recently, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. Chris Davis, who came in batting .152 in 30 games since June 15, homered and drove in four runs, matching a season high. The six runs were one less than the Orioles scored in their previous four games combined. "It meant a lot especially with the quick turnaround from last night,'' Davis said. ''Sometimes you're going to be hot, sometimes you're not, but hopefully we'll start stringing hits together and put some runs up on the board." The Orioles hope the win can help them start playing better at home. They've lost nine of 12 at Camden Yards, averaging 3.3 runs and hitting .210 during that span. One of the biggest culprits has been catcher Matt Wieters, who went 0 for 11 in the Tampa Bay series and is mired in a 1-for-30 skid. Baltimore won two of three at home against Oakland in April, with Davis going 5 for 9 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs. Zach Britton (1-0, 3.60) will try to lead the Orioles to consecutive home wins for the first time since June 14 and 22. This will be the third start of the season for Britton, who limited Cleveland to four hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 victory Sunday. The left-hander was pleased with his performance after he gave up four runs and six walks in four innings of a 6-4 loss at Minnesota on July 17 in his season debut. "I just completely forgot about that start and started moving on to my bullpen," Britton told the Orioles' official website. "That's one of those thing I learned down in Triple-A. Whether it was a good outing or a bad outing, you have to turn the page." Britton split two starts against Oakland in his 2011 rookie season.
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