Orioles-Athletics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 24, 2013
The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a solid homestand, but their upcoming road trip begins in a place they haven't had much success in recent seasons. Baltimore kicks off an 11-game trip Thursday night with a four-game set against the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles (12-9) went 6-3 on their homestand after falling 6-5 in 11 innings to Toronto on Wednesday, ending their 17-game winning streak in extra-inning contests - the longest since Pittsburgh's 21-game run that ended in 1960. Chris Davis went 0 for 5 and finished 1 for 11 with five strikeouts in the three-game series versus the Blue Jays. He has three homers and five RBIs in his last 16 games after hitting four and driving in 17 over his first five. Baltimore took two of three from Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto on the homestand. "When you can win any series, especially in your division, that's big. So we'll take it," said closer Jim Johnson, who suffered the loss. "This is not going to dampen our spirits." Looking back on their recent history in Oakland just might. The Orioles have lost 16 of the last 19 road matchups and haven't won consecutive meetings there since a three-game sweep Aug. 15-17, 2005. Jason Hammel will be on the mound attempting to end that drought for Baltimore, which won 9-5 at Oakland on Sept. 16 in the last matchup. Hammel (2-1, 4.74 ERA) allowed four runs and walked three in six innings of Baltimore's 7-5 win over the Dodgers on Saturday, though he didn't allow a run over his last four innings. "That's why Ham kind of graduated a little bit as a starter, because what you see in the first inning isn't necessarily what you're going to be seeing in the fifth or sixth inning," manager Buck Showalter told the team's official website. "It's not, 'Woe is me and the sky is falling.' It's, 'OK, let's make an adjustment and let's get our team through this.'" The right-hander has made two starts versus the A's, with the most recent coming in 2009 while pitching for Colorado. Oakland (13-9) will be looking to bounce back after dropping five of six on its road trip to Tampa Bay and Boston, falling 6-5 to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Chris Young hit a three-run homer and added a solo shot, while Jed Lowrie went 3 for 5. That kind of offense would have been plenty for scheduled starter Jarrod Parker in his last outing. Parker (0-3, 7.50) struggled in his first three starts, though he gave up one run and six hits through 6 1-3 innings of a 1-0 loss to the Rays on Saturday. "That's what we're used to seeing out of him," manager Bob Melvin said of Parker, who won 13 games as a rookie last season. "This is the first game he's pitched really well for us." The right-hander made two starts versus Baltimore in 2012, giving up six runs in five innings of Oakland's 14-9 win July 27 before allowing two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 victory Sept. 15. Adam Jones went 3 for 5 with a three-run homer off Parker in those matchups.
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