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Johnson rocked, Birds fall

BALTIMORE - The Orioles overcame two deficits to take a lead after eight innings, a situation that has meant perfection all season long.

Until Friday.

Baltimore closer Jim Johnson blew a save for just the third time this year, and the Orioles' attempt at putting together a pair of comebacks and a win was snuffed out in a hurry. The Athletics scored six runs in the ninth and pulled away for a wild 14-9 victory in front of 29,278 at Camden Yards.

When Johnson took the mound, the Orioles led 9-8 after scoring three runs in the eighth to take an 8-6 lead. Baltimore was 41-0 when leading after the eighth inning - until the A's sent 10 men to the plate, racked up six hits and blew the game open.

Jemile Weeks put Oakland (54-45) ahead for good with a one-out RBI single, the fifth consecutive batter to reach against Johnson in the ninth. The Orioles All-Star pitcher didn't have his usual stuff Friday night as he was in search of his 31st save of the year.

Coco Crisp followed Weeks with a two-run single and Seth Smith, who hit a pinch-hit, three-run double in the sixth that gave the A's an 8-6 lead, added a two-run double to tie a career high in RBIs.

It looked like the Orioles (52-48) were going to cap a thrilling comeback when Chris Davis singled to left and J.J Hardy scored to put them ahead 9-8. But Jim Thome, who tied the game with an RBI single up the the middle two batters earlier, was thrown out at home on a play that wasn't close to end the inning.

The run could have been costly until the Athletics put the game out of reach in the ninth.

Jerry Blevins (4-0) pitched the ninth for Oakland and got the win while Johnson suffered the loss and fell to 1-1.

The Orioles fell behind 5-0 after two innings as starter Zach Britton struggled to find his command. It was all forgotten in the fifth, when Adam Jones brought Baltimore back with a three-run homer just into the seats in left field.

With two outs in the fifth inning, Jones ripped the first pitch from A's starter Jarrod Parker into the first row of seats just above the W.B. Mason sign on the left-field wall to give the Orioles their first lead. Hardy cut Oakland's lead to 5-3 with an RBI single before Jones smacked his 24th homer of the season two batters later.

Oakland scored four runs in the first, highlighted by Chris Carter's two-run home run to left and Josh Reddick's RBI triple down the right-field line.

It was Reddick who ended the game with a nifty catch, robbing Nick Markakis of a hit and crashing into the wall below the out-of-town scoreboard in right field.

Reddick stayed on the ground for several minutes and need help leaving the field via cart while the A's celebrated another win and the Orioles were hit with their fourth loss in five games.

NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said second baseman Robert Andino, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, is set to being a rehab assignment Sunday with Class-AAA Norfolk. Andino, who hurt himself diving for a ball July 15 against Detroit, is ahead of schedule and doesn't appear to need the trip to Sarasota, Fla., before he begins playing at Norfolk. He's eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. ... The Athletics, who have won 12 of their last 14, have the most home runs in baseball since the All-Star break with 26.

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