BALTIMORE -– A back-and-forth marathon at Camden Yards finally ended Friday night when Manny Machado’s walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th gave the Orioles an 8-6 victory over the A’s.
The homer came on the second pitch thrown by A’s right-hander Aaron Brooks, who was summoned in the 13th despite starting just two days earlier, when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings against Toronto. The A’s bullpen was strained to the limit in the four-plus hour marathon Friday, which the A’s tied in the top of the ninth after trailing 6-4.
Drew Pomeranz, who threw 1 2/3 innings of relief Thursday, was called upon for 2 1/3 innings more from the 11th to the 13th Friday. The only pure reliever left in Oakland’s bullpen after him was Felix Doubront, who threw 6 1/3 innings of relief on Wednesday.
The A’s dropped their fourth in a row to begin this road trip, but it turned into an emotional back-and-forth series opener with the Orioles.
The A’s broke through to tie it against Orioles All-Star closer Zach Britton, erasing a two-run deficit in the ninth. Josh Phegley’s RBI groundout made it 6-5. Then with a runner on second and two outs, Danny Valencia singled to the opposite field on an 0-2 pitch to bring home Billy Burns from second. That snapped a career-best streak of 24 consecutive saves converted by Britton.
Oakland built a 4-0 lead by the fifth but couldn’t maintain it. Adam Jones hit a three-run shot off Brad Mills in the bottom half of that inning, part of Jones’ four-RBI night, to close the gap to 4-3. In the seventh, Chris Davis pounded his 32nd homer, a go-ahead two-run shot off Fernando Abad to highlight Baltimore’s three-run rally that gave them a 6-4 lead.
Starting pitching report
All in all, it was a pretty solid effort from Mills in his 2015 major league debut. He got through five innings and handed the bullpen a 4-3 lead. Granted, that margin was 4-0 before he gave up a three-run homer to Jones in the fifth. But this outing was about eating up some innings and keeping the A’s in the game, and the lefty did that in a spot start necessitated by Sonny Gray’s back injury. Had you been given the pregame option of getting five innings of three-run ball from Mills, you would have taken it, no?
Abad came in not having allowed an earned run over his past 13 games, and the lefty hadn’t yielded a run in 20 of his past 23 games. But Gerardo Parra greeted him with a single past first baseman Mark Canha that put runners on the corners with one out. After Jones’ sacrifice fly tied it, Davis’ two-run shot gave Baltimore the lead.
Fernando Rodriguez rode a wild ride in the bottom of the ninth after the A’s tied it. After allowing back-to-back singles to begin the inning, Rodriguez struck out Davis and got Jonathan Schoop on a fielder’s choice grounder that left runners on the corners with two outs. Then J.J. Hardy hit a sharp comebacker that appeared to strike Rodriguez in the foot as he finished his motion. The ball sat on the ground right next to him, and a disoriented Rodriguez had no idea where the ball was for a moment. Then he retrieved it, fired to first and narrowly got Hardy to send the game to extra innings.
At the plate
Coco Crisp’s bloop RBI single in the second gave the A’s an early lead. Then Billy Burns beat out an infield single in the fourth that brought home a run to make it 2-0, and Stephen Vogt’s 16th homer, a two-run blast in the fifth, made it 4-0.
But the A’s had two runners easily thrown out at home, and you wonder how much more damage they could have done if not for that. Billy Butler was easily out trying to score from second on Marcus Semien’s single in the second, and Crisp made an ill-advised dash for home on Burns’ run-scoring infield hit and was out by about 10 feet.
Crisp, hitting eighth for the second game in a row, did register his first three-double game since 2008.
In the field
The A’s didn’t get charged with an error during the Orioles’ three-run seventh in which they took the lead from Oakland. But a couple defensive plays hurt. Semien made a backhand play on Manny Machado’s grounder to the hole, and skipped a two-hopper that first baseman Mark Canha couldn’t scoop. On Jones’ game-tying sacrifice fly, the A’s had a shot to nail Machado. Billy Burns’ throw from center brought Stephen Vogt off the plate, and Vogt couldn’t hold on to the ball as he tried to make a lunging tag.
The announced turnout was 36,784.
Coming off his first career 10-strikeout game, Chris Bassitt (1-4, 2.48) takes the hill in a 4:05 p.m. game Saturday. Miguel Gonzalez (9-8, 4.45) goes for Baltimore.