A’s jump to big lead early again
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Athletics sprayed doubles all over the field. What a change to have the offense clicking like this.
“About time, that’s what I’m thinking,” leadoff man Orlando Cabrera said.
“We worked on it in batting practice,” quipped Adam Kennedy of the extra-base hits.
Jason Giambi hit a three-run double that helped rookie Trevor Cahill end a three-start losing streak, and the A’s won their season-best fifth straight game with a 9-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.
Cabrera and Kennedy each doubled twice and drove in two runs, including getting back-to-back doubles in the A’s four-run fourth to chase Orioles starter Jason Berken. The first seven hits by the A’s were doubles, but they saw the end to their streak of six straight games with a home run.
Cahill (3-5), who had struggled for run support in recent outings, was staked to a 5-0 lead in the third inning on Giambi’s double against Berken (1-2). Kennedy hit a two-out RBI double, then Jack Cust and Matt Holliday each drew walks to load the bases for Giambi.
“You can’t walk hitters to get to a hitter like Jason Giambi,” Berken said. “Those are the things that are really inexcusable.”
Cahill struck out five in six innings and didn’t walk a batter for the second time in 12 starts.
“Get the lead early and I kind of relax and go after hitters,” Cahill said. “Every time I go out there I feel a little more comfortable.”
Nolan Reimold hit a three-run homer in the seventh for the Orioles off reliever Brad Ziegler. A’s starters have won five in a row for the first time since May 21-27 last year. Oakland has scored five or more runs in five straight games for the first time since doing so in eight straight from Sept. 9-16, 2007.
Berken was tagged for a career-high nine earned runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings in his third major league start after allowing only three earned runs total in his initial two outings. Gregg Zaun singled in a run in the seventh for the Orioles, who have lost four straight and six of seven.
“We sure made Oakland a real good offensive club the last few nights,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
The A’s won consecutive series for the first time in 2009 and have outscored their opponents 35-8 during this winning streak. The eight doubles matched an Oakland record, done three other times and last on June 26, 2005, against San Francisco. Baltimore also matched a franchise record for doubles allowed, the fourth time the club has given up eight and first since the Yankees did so on July 29, 2007.
“That’s nice, because it means they’re hitting line drives,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Guys are hustling out of the box.”
Giambi’s left calf tightened up and he was replaced by Bobby Crosby in the fifth. It wasn’t considered serious.
Baltimore’s offense finally showed some life. The Orioles had scored only six runs in the past five games, getting six or fewer hits in four of those.
Trembley shook up his lineup to try to get his club on track offensively after a 9-1 loss in the series opener Friday night. Aubrey Huff dropped from his regular cleanup hole to the fifth spot and Adam Jones moved down to third from the No. 2 hole, with Nick Markakis batting second.
Baltimore’s Felix Pie left the game after fouling a ball that bounced off the dirt and hit him in the throat.
Pie, who was leading off the third inning, grabbed his throat in pain and athletic trainer Richie Bancells rushed to assist him. After several minutes, Pie stepped back in to hit but struck out swinging two pitches later against Cahill. Once back in the dugout, he was escorted to the clubhouse and then replaced by Reimold.
Pie was taken to the hospital for a CT scan and the club didn’t have any further update.
Notes: Melvin Mora drew Baltimore’s first walk in three games in the eighth. … The Orioles are 5-20 in their last 25 games away from Camden Yards. … Oakland CF Ryan Sweeney underwent an MRI on his left knee Friday that revealed a sprain. He hasn’t played since crashing into the outfield wall in Chicago on Tuesday. … A’s 2B Mark Ellis (strained left calf) will begin a rehab assignment mid-month.