OAKLAND, Calif. — The Baltimore Orioles exorcised plenty of their demons last season when they finally achieved a winning record and a playoff berth for the first time in 15 years.
With a 7-3 victory on Saturday afternoon against the Oakland Athletics, the Orioles can cross one more thing off their “we’re back” bucket list.
Dating back to a victory last September, Baltimore (15-9) has won four straight at Oakland for the first time since 1998.
If they win Sunday to sweep the four-game series, it would be the first time the Orioles have done that here since 1987.
Using homers by Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Nate McLouth, the Orioles took advantage of a reeling A’s team (13-12) that has dropped eight of their last nine games, and beat them before an announced crowd of 31,292 that was on hand to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Oakland’s 1973 World Series champions.
But not everything went perfectly for Baltimore. Reserve catcher Taylor Teagarden took a foul tip off his left thumb in the sixth and immediately left the game. He was diagnosed with a dislocated thumb and expects to miss three to four weeks.
Starter and winner Chris Tillman (1-1) labored early, allowing a run in both the second and third innings before settling down. He lasted six innings, permitting two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out a season-best seven batters.
Baltimore gave Tillman the lead in the fourth.
Manny Machado drew a leadoff walk from loser A.J. Griffin (2-2), and Markakis followed with his third homer of the season, tying the score at 2-2. Two pitches later, Jones hit a rocket to deep center for his fourth homer. The Orioles added a fourth run in the inning on an RBI single by J.J. Hardy that scored Chris Davis all the way from first base.
The Orioles hadn’t had back-to-back home runs since Mark Reynolds and Lew Ford did it against the New York Yankees last September.
McLouth hit his first homer of the season in the eighth off Jerry Blevins. McLouth, who had three hits and has reached base in 18 of his last 31 plate appearances, also had a RBI single in the ninth.
The A’s made it interesting at the end. Reliever Pedro Strop struggled, but closer Jim Johnson finished up for his 10th save.
The Orioles have now won 103 consecutive games when leading at the completion of seven innings.