The A’s snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the Orioles in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Rich Hill held Baltimore to just one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings and the A’s pounded out a season-high 15 hits. Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the eighth and Oakland got balanced production throughout the lineup to notch its first victory of May. The second game of the twin bill is set to begin at 4:05 p.m. (PT).
Hill, who had his start pushed back a day with Friday’s rainout, continued his excellence on the road. In four starts away from home, the lefty is 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA.
Eight of the nine starters in the A’s lineup got at least one hit, with cleanup man Khris Davis the lone exception. Semien’s power continues to be a boost for the bottom third of the lineup. With eight homers, he trails only Colorado’s Trevor Story (11) for the lead among major league shortstops.
Starting pitching report
After struggling to find the feel for his curve in his previous start against Houston, Hill (4-3) had the pitch working from the get-go Saturday afternoon. With the curve keeping hitters off-balance, it allowed Hill to throw his low-90’s fastball by hitters too, and that fastball-curve mix has been critical to his early-season success. Hill struck out five and walked three, and the only drawback was a high pitch count that didn’t allow him to pitch deeper into the game. He left the game at 103 pitches but did lower his ERA to 2.39.
Ryan Dull did well to prevent the Orioles from jumping back in the game in the sixth. Relieving Hill with two on and two outs with the score 6-1, Dull walked Nolan Reimold to load the bases but stuck strictly with his fastball to get Jonathan Schoop swinging to end the inning.
At the plate
The A’s took the lead in the second with a two-out rally off Mike Wright (1-3). Coco Crisp, Yonder Alonso and Semien singled in succession, with Semien's run-scoring hit to left accounting for one of his three RBI on the day. Stephen Vogt made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly in the third, but that run was set up by Jed Lowrie hustling from second to third while tagging up on Davis’ fly to right. He narrowly beat Joey Rickard’s throw to the bag. Josh Reddick, who came in with just one RBI over his previous eight games, doubled to left-center in the fifth to score Billy Burns. Then Semien launched a 2-0 pitch from Dylan Bundy over the left field wall in the eighth to provide some extra cushion for the A’s.
In the field
Semien shined in the field as well in the eighth, making a diving stop up the middle and throw to first to get Adam Jones.
Danny Valencia, in his first game back from the disabled list, made a throwing error in the fifth. But in the sixth, when Baltimore scored its first run, Valencia turned in a terrific diving stop and got a force-out at second that nipped that rally in the bud.
Saturday’s nightcap features Jesse Hahn (1-0, 0.00) taking the mound against right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3, 5.20). First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m.