Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) – Kurt Suzuki recorded three RBI and emergency starter Vin Mazzaro earned the win with six-plus solid innings, as the Oakland Athletics edged the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
Dallas Braden was scheduled to start on the mound for the A’s but was scratched several hours prior to the game due to elbow stiffness. In his place, Mazzaro (3-2) allowed one run on three hits and in the process halted a three-start winless skid.
Coco Crisp finished 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored for Oakland, which has won four straight games.
Luke Scott doubled twice with an RBI for the Orioles, who saw their four-game win streak halted.
Brian Matusz (2-9) suffered the loss after he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He’s lost his last nine decisions.
The visitors opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Suzuki’s base hit scored Cliff Pennington, who started the frame with a single and moved to second on a base hit by Crisp.
A leadoff triple by Crisp in the fifth led to a two-run Oakland lead. With one out, Suzuki grounded out to first, but Crisp got a good jump on the play on crossed the plate
Baltimore cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the stanza. Leadoff batter Julio Lugo was plunked in the back by a Mazzaro fastball — a bit of payback for when Oakland’s Daric Barton was hit with a pitch earlier — and headed for second on a wild pitch. Cesar Izturis then doubled on the chalk down the left field line and Lugo easily scored.
In the top of the seventh, Barton singled with one out, which brought Jason Berken into the game from the bullpen. Berken walked Conor Jackson before a sharp grounder bounced off the glove of third baseman Miguel Tejada and into left field and Barton scored on the play for a 3-1 margin.
Jerry Blevins and Michael Wuertz combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, but Craig Breslow ran into trouble in the eighth. Breslow surrendered a double to leadoff batter Nick Markakis, and with one out Scott’s double hit the wall in right field to draw the Orioles within one. With two outs, pinch-hitter Matt Wieters worked a nine-pitch walk, but Lugo flied out to end the threat.
Oakland got an insurance run in the top of the ninth via Jackson’s RBI single.
Andrew Bailey worked an easy 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth for his 15th save.
The Orioles have lost 12 of Matusz’ last 13 starts…Oakland outhit the O’s, 11-5…Crisp also stole two bases…Baltimore was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, while Oakland was 3-for-17…The A’s have now won 16 of their last 19 against Baltimore.