The longest winning streak in the majors came to an end Sunday at the hands of the slumping Orioles, who with an 8-1 win over the Oakland Athletics ended the visitors’ run of 13 straight victories.
Before Oakland strung together such a run, the last team in the majors to win that many games in a row was the Houston Astros, who won 12 straight games from June 6-18, 2018.
Even though the Athletics leave Camden Yards with a series win and the best record in the American League at 14-8, manager Bob Melvin acknowledged that they wanted the streak to live on.
“I mean, you do want to win series but you also want to get greedy — and we’ve been greedy here recently. It’s about winning every game that you go out there and play. At the end of the day, if you leave and you win a series, that’s a good thing. But we wanted to win today. We wanted to win bad today. We just didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance.”
The Athletics’ streak fell at the hands of a pair of homegrown Orioles in starter John Means and left fielder Austin Hays.
Means continued what has been one of the best Aprils in all of baseball by allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.50.
Hays hit a home run in the second inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, and after Oakland’s Ramón Laureano hit a home run of his own off Means to tie the game in the fourth, Hays hit an opposite-field home run to give the Orioles the lead for good.
The Orioles put the game away with five runs in the eighth inning, starting with a leadoff home run by Maikel Franco.
“We’ve been playing really good baseball,” third baseman Matt Chapman said. “Eventually we were bound to lose a game, you know? We ran into a guy who was throwing well today, and they ended up opening it up there at the end.”
The 13-game winning streak was the third-longest in Oakland history. The A’s won 14 straight in 1988 and set a then-American League record with 20 consecutive victories in 2002.
The Cleveland Indians broke that mark with 22 straight wins in 2017; Oakland’s string is the longest in the majors since that Indians run.
The Athletics outscored opponents 83-36 during their winning streak.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said playing against such teams is difficult.
“The confidence, you see how loose they are in their dugout, and rightfully so,” he said. “When you win that many in a row, you win for two weeks straight, you never feel like you’re going to lose again. I’d like to have that feeling someday.”
Oakland, which opened the season with six straight losses, hadn’t lost since April 8.
“We got off to a tough start and it did not go our way, and it was ugly for six or seven games and went just the opposite after that,” Melvin said. “When you have a veteran group that has been through it before, you really don’t get too down. They get more upset than anything else. I think after the first week, we went on a nice run. We’ll try to start one again tomorrow.
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Chapman said: “Once we get hot, we get rolling, I don’t know who would have predicted we’d win 13 in a row like that, but who would have thought we’d lose six straight to start the season? It all evens itself out, and we’re right where we need to be.”