Athletics 9, Orioles 4
So much for many happy returns for Miguel Tejada.
Barry Zito pitched Tejada's former team, the Athletics, to a 9-4 win as Oakland earned its ninth win in 10 games, completing a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 9-4 victory Thursday.
The Orioles have lost 10 straight, their longest skid since ending the 2002 season with 12 losses.
"When we swept Texas we had confidence," right fielder Jay Gibbons said, referring to a four-game series earlier this month. "Now we seemed to have lost it."
It was a frustrating return for all-star shortstop Miguel Tejada, who signed with the A's at 17 out of the Dominican Republic.
Tejada went 1 for 15 in the series, getting a standing ovation after his final at-bat. He also received a lengthy ovation during the opener Monday night, but showed his frustration several times during the series.
"I'm real happy I'm leaving now," he said. "It's over."
He ended an 0-for-13 stretch with a bloop single leading off the sixth, but then got thrown out at second trying to extend it to a double after shortstop Bobby Crosby lost the ball in the sun.
This was Tejada's first trip back to Oakland to face his former team since the 2002 AL MVP signed a six-year, $72 million contract with Baltimore in the offseason.
A's Manager Ken Macha and Orioles skipper Lee Mazzilli both thought Tejada was trying too hard to play well.
"I'm not trying too hard," Tejada said. "They just got me out. It's not the first time I went so many at-bats without hits. They just pitched me good."
For Zito, the win came despite some hunger issues. Namely, an empty stomach.
"It was weird. I was airy, a little bit manic," Zito said. "I didn't eat right. . . . I was just crazy. I couldn't really focus on anything. Once I became aware I was whacked-out, I tried to slow things down, like I was sleepwalking."
Typical, eccentric Zito.
The left-hander pitched well enough to win for the third time in four starts. Zito said he ate a bagel before the game but just a protein shake for dinner Wednesday night. He munched on an energy bar in the middle innings. He called it "irresponsible" and said he'll make sure to eat better before his next day start.
"We send him home early and he comes in late and still can't get breakfast, huh?" teammate Scott Hatteberg said, smiling, as if he'd seen it before.
Erubiel Durazo hit a three-run homer and Eric Chavez also connected for the AL West-leading A's, who have a one-game lead over idle Anaheim. Hatteberg added a three-run double for Oakland, which swept the season series 7-0.
The Orioles are done with the first stop on their season-long 13-game trip, the club's longest since the 2000 season.
This has been an up-and-down year for Zito (10-9), who won the AL Cy Young Award two years ago. He has felt better about his recent outings, but still doesn't look completely comfortable. He allowed four runs and four hits in 51/3 innings, struck out four and walked four.
Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera (9-7) retired the side in order, then started the second by walking Hatteberg and Jermaine Dye.
Durazo followed with his 20th homer. The designated hitter had his 11-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-5 performance Wednesday night.
With two outs in the fourth, Chavez hit an 0-1 pitch to right-center for a solo shot, his 25th.
Zito needed 48 pitches to get out of the third inning. He loaded the bases before Melvin Mora hit a two-run double. Tejada followed with an RBI grounder, and Mora came home on a wild pitch to make it 4-3. Javy Lopez walked before Zito got B.J. Surhoff to line out.