OAKLAND — The A’s spent the early part of the game flailing helplessly at Ubaldo Jimenez’s pitches.
But when Baltimore’s bullpen left the door cracked open in the later innings, the A’s pounced. Jed Lowrie tied the game in the eighth inning with an RBI ground-rule double and Chad Pinder’s sacrifice fly put Oakland ahead in a 5-4 victory over the Orioles that snapped a three-game losing streak.
It was a flashback to the way the A’s found a way to pull out home games early in the season, when they were one of the American League’s toughest home teams. Lately, that hasn’t been the case. Oakland came in having dropped 15 of its previous 24 at the Coliseum.
Their winning rally began when Matt Joyce doubled off Brad Brach to lead off the bottom of the eighth. He moved to third on Marcus Semien’s single. Then Lowrie’s ground-rule double tied the game and left runners at second and third. Khris Davis popped out, and then the A’s caught a break when Orioles first baseman Chris Davis couldn’t haul in Pinder’s catchable foul pop.
Pinder followed with a fly ball deep enough to score Semien and give Oakland the lead. Blake Treinen threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save as an Athletic. A’s relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings total.
THE K’S KEEP COMING: Jimenez had the A’s mesmerized early, striking out eight of the first 11 hitters he faced. The game wound up being the 58th this season in which the A’s have struck out at least 10 times. That’s just one off the Oakland record set in 2012.
NO EASY OUTING: The Orioles got to A’s starter Paul Blackburn for four runs over 5 2/3 innings. He gave up 10 hits, the most he’s surrendered in eight major league starts. But in the context of how Oakland starters have stumbled lately, his outing wasn’t too bad. Blackburn also benefited from two ground-ball double plays.
OLSON GOES DEEP: Drawing the start at first base, Matt Olson hit a two-run homer in the fourth that briefly gave the A’s a 3-2 lead. It was a towering blast to center off Jimenez, Olson’s first homer since being recalled from the minors Tuesday.
AN ODD FIRST DAY: Boog Powell was slated to make his A’s debut after being called up earlier in the day from the minors. But the center fielder was scratched about an hour before the game with what the A’s described as an illness. Powell showed no signs of being sick while addressing reporters in the clubhouse and seemed OK during batting practice too, so whatever hit him had to hit rather suddenly. Matt Chapman had left Thursday night’s game due to illness too, but he felt what he had was likely food poisoning and not a contagious bug.
SURGERY FOR WAHL: The A’s announced that reliever Bobby Wahl, who’s been sidelined since May with right shoulder problems, will undergo thoracic outlet surgery on his shoulder Monday. The general timeline for recovery from such a procedure is roughly four to six months, so it’s unknown whether Wahl will be ready for spring training or not.