BALTIMORE — A battle between the best two bullpens in the American League left a lot to be desired Friday night.
The Baltimore Orioles’ series opener with the Oakland A’s dragged out longer than the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, producing a four-hour marathon that included five lead changes. Twice the Orioles rallied to take the lead only to allow an A’s comeback in the next half inning.
It ended with Oakland scoring six runs in the ninth, all of them charged to all-star closer Jim Johnson, in a’ 14-9 loss to the A’s in front of an announced crowd of 29,278.
Six of the seven hitters who faced Johnson reached base as he allowed five hits — including a two-run single by Coco Crisp and an RBI single by Brandon Moss — and one walk. Two more runs scored on a two-run double by Seth Smith. The six runs charged to Johnson are the most he’s allowed in his career as a reliever.
In his eight outings since the all-star break, Johnson has allowed 13 earned runs in 61 / 3 innings and owns an 18.47 ERA.
The loss was Baltimore’s fourth in five games and sent the Orioles 21 / 2 games back of the second AL wild card spot.
The Orioles had taken a 9-8 lead with a three-run eighth inning — scoring all their runs with two outs — capped by Chris Davis’s opposite-field run-scoring single off Oakland reliever Ryan Cook with the bases loaded.