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Orioles slap 5, but win is costly

When Luke Scott finally touched home plate in the seventh inning, his left leg trailing behind his right one, the Orioles designated hitter clapped his hands and pointed to the sky.

It was symbolic of a painful Orioles performance that ended on an upswing.

Ty Wigginton tied the score with a two-run shot in the seventh inning, the first home run by an Orioles first baseman all year. Scott followed with a solo homer to give the Orioles the lead on their way to a 9-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics before an announced 21,392 Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

In winning for the fifth time in six games --all in comeback fashion -- the Orioles (24-53) tied a season high with five home runs. But it was Scott's opposite-field blast that stood out, not only because it gave the home team a lead it worked so hard to give away, but also because the Oriole struggled to even get around the bases.

Scott strained his left hamstring rounding first on the homer off Oakland left-hander Cedrick Bowers, and his status is now in doubt, casting a pall over one of the most uplifting sequences of the season.

After the game, Scott had a pair of crutches in his locker, suggesting the worst.

He won't know for sure until he is re-evaluated today, but he believes he pulled his left hamstring, which usually means a trip to the disabled list.

"Right now, it doesn't look good," Scott said. "I would say probably [a DL stint], that's what I have been told so far. Anytime you deal with a pulled hamstring, it's going to be at least two weeks."

Scott, who is batting .274 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs in 66 games, said he thought he might have to leg out a triple when he hit the ball to left-center field.

"My thought process coming around first base was the outfielders are both converging, and I wanted to make sure if the ball caroms off the wall I'd be standing at third base," Scott said. "So I kind of turned it up as I was getting ready to come around [first]. And when I came around first base … my hamstring cramped up and when my leg went forward, it pulled."

He said he expects to undergo magnetic resonance imaging this morning.

"It [stinks]," he said. "I am glad the ball went out, but this is frustrating."

Wigginton, who preceded Scott's shot and followed Nick Markakis' one-out walk, drove Brad Ziegler's 0-1 pitch deep into the left-field seats for his 14th homer and his first since May 22. The Orioles had been the only team in the major leagues without a homer from its first baseman before Wigginton's game-tying shot. The 76 homerless games by Orioles first baseman were a team record, passing the 1959 club that didn't get a homer from that position until game No. 56.

Only three major league clubs since 1961 had started the season with a longer home run drought by first basemen.

Wigginton and Scott's back-to-back shots were two of five home runs the Orioles hit on the night. Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the second, part of his three-hit and three-RBI night. Corey Patterson hit a solo shot in the fourth for one of his three hits. And Miguel Tejada connected for a two-run blast in the eighth to give the Orioles some insurance.

The Orioles' bullpen also pitched four scoreless innings and has allowed just two earned runs in 231/3 innings (0.77 ERA) over the past six games.

Alfredo Simon pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his 10th save and salvage an evening that looked to be marred by Oakland's six-run fourth off Kevin Millwood.

There is so much competition for the dubious distinction, but it's hard to imagine the Orioles have played a more awful inning during this brutal first half than the way they performed in the fourth inning Wednesday night, when the A's sent nine men to the plate and turned a 3-0 deficit into a 6-3 lead.

Case in point: Tejada mishandled Kurt Suzuki's ground ball at third base to let the leadoff batter reach base. Patterson watched Ryan Sweeney's bloop single bounce away from him in left field, allowing Suzuki to score from first and Sweeney to take second.

Millwood issued a one-out walk to No.9 hitter Cliff Pennington, and on ball four, catcher Matt Wieters, who thought the Athletics batter had swung at the pitch, threw to second base, permitting Mark Ellis to score the tying run from third without so much as a throw.

Millwood then allowed a three-run homer to leadoff man Coco Crisp en route to a 42-pitch inning.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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