BALTIMORE - Tommy Hunter threw two bad pitches. The Baltimore Orioles couldn't hit many of the bad ones thrown at them.

Only a ninth-inning Nick Markakis home run prevented the Orioles by being shut out by the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

The Orioles' 6-1 loss to the Athletics before 21,143 at Oriole Park was one that they've seen before, again and again.

Baltimore had 10 hits, left 11 men on base and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"You put yourself in the best situation to succeed. That's really all you ask," Adam Jones said. "Getting that big hit is that thing to get you over the hump, and it's coming."

Oakland (55-45), which has won 13 of 15, hit a pair of two home runs off Hunter.

Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run shot to left field in the fourth, his 14th, to make it 2-0.

In the fifth, Kurt Suzuki doubled and Eric Sogard singled for a 3-0 lead, and Chris Carter's two run homer in the sixth gave the Athletics a 5-0 lead.

Hunter (4-6) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven.

He's now allowed 24 home runs in 100 2/3 innings.

"I didn't make many mistakes at all," Hunter said. "Trust me, I'm not changing anything about what I did tonight. I really wouldn't. They got me on two pretty good pitches. I'd probably throw them again, but know knowing their approaches, that's probably the only thing I'd change about it."

Manager Buck Showalter didn't concede that the Orioles know that when Hunter pitches, home runs follow.

"We hope not. It's hard to go out there and be perfect. Tommy's pitched real well his last couple outings and he looked like he was going to do it again tonight but it got away from him a little bit," Showalter said. "At 5-0 we were hoping to make a run there but we really scattered our hits out."

The Orioles (52-49) did little off Bartolo Colon (7-8). He gave up seven hits in 5 2/3. Colon struck out five and walked one. Baltimore didn't get a runner to third base while he was on the mound.

"You've got to bear down a little more," Jones said.

Jordan Norberto relieved colon with two runners on in the sixth and struck out Omar Quantanilla for the third out.

In the seventh, thanks to an error and wild pitch, the Orioles had runners on second and third with two outs, but Jones grounded to short to end the inning.

Cespedes' RBI triple in the eighth off Miguel Socolovich gave the Athletics a 6-0 lead.

It looked as if the Orioles were about to be shut out, but Markakis hit his ninth home run of the year off Evan Scribner with one out in the ninth.

"It's a tough stretch right now because it's the second half. Every game is important, which is legit. This time of year, every game is important," Jones said.

NOTES: Brian Roberts reported to Aberdeen to begin the first of a two-game rehab assignment. Roberts, who was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored, has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 3 and he was given the option of undergoing surgery to repair his right hip or rehabbing it. Recently, he's been in Sarasota, Fla., and could return to the Orioles on Monday. Showalter said that when Roberts returns, he'll probably lead off because he's comfortable there. Markakis has led off since returning from the disabled list on July 13, and Showalter said Markakis is comfortable batting anywhere in the order. ... Jim Thome was out with neck spasms. ... Matt Wieters was not in the starting lineup for a second straight game due to a sore right biceps. Wieters says he expects to play Sunday. ... Robert Andino is eager to go to Norfolk on Sunday for the first of a two-game rehab assignment. Andino has been on the DL with a sore left shoulder. ... Outfielder Steve Pearce, who was designated for assignment on July 21, was claimed on waivers by Houston. ... After the game, the Orioles optioned Socolovich to Norfolk. The Orioles are expected to purchase the contract of outfielder Lew Ford, who's batting .331 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs at Triple-A Norfolk, for Sunday's game.

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