In an offensive performance as in-character as it was generally uncommon, the Orioles' 7-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night in the first of a four-game series at Oakland Coliseum was built almost exclusively on extra-base hits.
Led by rookie Trey Mancini, who homered twice and added a double, the Orioles' first nine hits went for extra bases until a pinch-hit single by outfielder Craig Gentry in the eighth inning spoiled the unusual streak.
Even so, the nine extra-base hits tied a season-high and showed that even a makeshift lineup built with the Orioles’ powerful bats can do damage.
“It was a big night for us,” Mancini said. “Tim [Beckham] just started us off. Leading the game off with a triple was big, just kind of got some momentum going and from there, we just kind of kept it rolling consistently throughout the game. It felt like we had a good offensive night there.”
The win moved the Orioles (57-58) back within a game of .500 and pulled them within 1½ games of the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild-card spot.
Both of Mancini's home runs came as part of back-to-back sequences for the Orioles. In the fourth inning, he followed up a blast by center fielder Adam Jones, and two innings later, he hit one before designated hitter Mark Trumbo broke an 0-for-24 skid with his 18th home run of the season. Mancini now has 20 homers this season.
Jones also drove in three runs, two on a double in the seventh inning. Beckham had a triple and a double, while catcher Welington Castillo also doubled to round out the team's explosive day at the plate against 36-year-old journeyman starter Chris Smith.
Miley's breaks run
Though he has shown some improvement of late, going five innings and allowing two runs in his previous two starts, left-hander Wade Miley (6-9) got past the sixth inning for the first time since June 1 and registered his first quality start since that day against the Boston Red Sox.
“Good,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Real good. Attacked both sides of the plate, more than one pitch there for him. That little two or three inches, brings it back over a little bit and pounded that area over there. Moved the ball around. He's always got a good tempo, guys like playing behind him. Put some zeroes up. I don't think there was an earned run, right? Obviously, that's good.”
The only run against Miley came in the first inning, when leadoff hitter Rajai Davis singled and was picked off trying to steal second base, but Mancini's throw skittered into the outfield when Davis essentially slid into Beckham and prevented him from catching the ball. Davis advanced to third on that error and scored on a sacrifice fly.
After the 26-pitch first inning, however, Miley was as efficient and effective as he has been in months. He went seven innings and allowed just the unearned run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 5.19 on the season.
“A lot better,” Miley said. “Welly did a good job. We kind of struggled a little bit that first inning trying to find the command, but we stuck with it, stuck with the game plan and it worked out. … Obviously, I got deeper. Pitch count was lower. I think I had couple quick innings in the middle — second, third, fourth — allowed me to go deeper in the game after the longer first inning.”
Right-hander Darren O'Day relieved Miley, and allowed a run on two hits with a walk in the eighth inning.
The Athletics (50-65) loaded the bases in the ninth but did not score, with the Orioles using left-hander Richard Bleier, right-hander Brad Brach and left-hander Zach Britton in the inning. Each recorded an out with Britton getting his 10th save.
Big day for Beckham
Batting leadoff for the first time in an Orioles uniform, Beckham continued what has been a dream start since his July 31 trade from the Tampa Bay Rays. He tripled off the wall in center field in his first at-bat, and doubled to right field in the seventh inning, giving him seven multihit games in his first 10 with the club and extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Though he also had an error, his second with the club, Beckham saved a run in the fourth inning when he knocked down a ball for an infield single with a man on second base.
“I thought Beck presented himself well,” Showalter said. “He made a big stop on tonight on a ball in the hole to save a run that might go unnoticed.”