Orioles 6, Athletics 2
The way Sammy Sosa has been struggling at the plate, how far he hit the ball and where it went mattered little to the Baltimore slugger.
Sosa's 25-foot RBI single highlighted a wild rally, and the Orioles ended Barry Zito's eight-game winning streak with a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
"A hit is a hit," Sosa said with a smile, adding that he'll take that "anytime."
The Orioles came back with five runs in the seventh inning thanks to several misplays by the A's, including two hit batsmen, two bases-loaded walks and a throwing error by shortstop Bobby Crosby.
Luis Matos added an RBI double in the ninth for Baltimore, which began a six-game road trip.
Rodrigo Lopez (12-6) worked 62/3 innings to win his third straight decision despite trailing for most of the night. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits, struck out three and walked two.
Crosby ended a 35-game homerless streak with a solo shot in the first inning for Oakland, but he also made a costly error as the sloppy A's lost back-to-back games for the first time since July 6-7 at Toronto.
Zito (11-9) cruised through the first six innings, retiring 17 of his first 19 hitters, but fell apart in the seventh on the way to his first defeat since a 6-1 loss June 17 against Philadelphia.
With the Orioles trailing 2-0, Chris Gomez doubled to start the inning. Melvin Mora popped out, then Miguel Tejada reached on an infield single and Javy Lopez was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.
After pitching coach Curt Young visited the mound, Sosa chopped his short dribbler and Zito stumbled as he tried to field it along the third base line. The left-hander walked Alejandro Freire to bring in the tying run moments later.
"Basically, I had to grab it and side flip it," Zito said. "I was trying to grab it with two hands and stop my momentum. In retrospect, I should have taken my glove off and used my right hand."
Jay Gibbons then drove in a run on a routine grounder that Crosby threw wildly past second baseman Marco Scutaro while trying to start a double play. Two runs scored on the play.
The Orioles figured it was about time a few breaks went their way.
"It's got to happen," said Sosa, whose infield single snapped an 0-for-17 slump and was his second hit in 28 at-bats. "We've been scuffling a little bit. When you come here and play against a team that's playing good baseball and fight for it and win, it's a good feeling."
Crosby hit a solo shot to left with two outs in the first inning for his first home run since an inside-the-park homer July 5 at Toronto, a stretch of 141 at-bats.
After Crosby's homer, Rodrigo Lopez loaded the bases with back-to-back singles to Eric Chavez and Dan Johnson and a walk to Jay Payton. But Lopez got Scott Hatteberg to line out to center, the first of 11 straight outs before Scutaro singled in the fifth.
Crosby, who came into the game with only one hit in 25 career at-bats against Baltimore, led off the sixth with a double. Chavez then singled him home.
Eric Byrnes received a warm ovation in his return to his native Bay Area just more than a month after the A's traded the popular outfielder. He finished 0 for 5.