Athletics, Orioles set for final game of three-game series

Apr 28, 2024, 4:24 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 26: Tyler Nevin #26 of the Oakland Athletics steals second base in the ...

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The power bats of the Baltimore Orioles seem to be heating up again, and that could spell trouble for the Oakland Athletics.

The teams will meet in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

The Orioles hit three home runs in Saturday’s 7-0 victory after posting only one homer in each of the previous three games.

“I think our hitters are really good at adjusting,” Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman said. “They’re able to make some adjustments the second, third time around (the batting order).”

Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle hit back-to-back solo homers in the fifth inning Saturday.

Teammate Gunnar Henderson hit a two-run blast in the seventh and has homered in three of the past four games. With nine homers in 26 games, he’s on a torrid pace.

“Just letting my instincts take over,” Henderson said. “I feel like I’m not trying to do too much. Just trying to get out there and put a good swing on the ball and swing at pitches I know I can do damage with.”

The Athletics, who won Friday night’s series opener 3-2 in 10 innings, couldn’t quiet Baltimore’s bats at crucial times on Saturday.

“We gave up five runs with two outs, so not being able to finish it off,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “It kind of spiraled there.”

Saturday’s outcome marked the fifth loss by seven or more runs for the Athletics this season, though three of those defeats came in the season’s opening week.

“That’s a really good team over there,” said pitcher JP Sears, who started Saturday for Oakland. “They just kind of take advantage of some bad pitches.”

The comfortable margin provided other benefits for the Orioles, who are trying to win their fourth consecutive series.

“Huge bonus for me that (Danny) Coulombe, (Yennier) Cano and (Craig) Kimbrel didn’t have to pitch,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said, referring to mainstays out of the bullpen. “I feel like they have been in almost every one of our wins. It was nice to be able to have them sit down there and watch.”

On Sunday, the Orioles will start right-hander Albert Suarez (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who hasn’t allowed a run in two outings this season. Suarez, in his first big-league action since 2017, has logged 5 2/3 innings in each outing this year and has permitted a total of seven hits and two walks to go with nine strikeouts.

When with the San Francisco Giants, Suarez faced the Athletics once each in 2016 and 2017 but didn’t record a decision. He gave up five runs in 8 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Paul Blackburn (2-1, 2.03 ERA) is slated to pitch Sunday for the Athletics, who won his first four starts of the season before he was tagged with the 4-3 road loss Tuesday against the New York Yankees.

Like Suarez, Blackburn had a strong start to the season, not allowing a run in his first three starts. The four runs surrendered in six innings to the Yankees mark more than half of his total seven runs yielded this year.

In three career starts against Baltimore, Blackburn is 1-0 with a 3.07 ERA across 14 2/3 innings in three appearances.

The Athletics are 7-8 in road games this season, while the Orioles are 9-5 at home.

–Field Level Media

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28th – @ Baltimore Orioles
  • Monday, April 29-Wednesday, May 1st – vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Friday, May 3rd-Sunday, May 5th – vs. Miami Marlins
  • Monday, May 6th-Wednesday, May 8th – vs. Texas Rangers
  • Friday, May 10th-Sunday, May 12th – @ Seattle Mariners

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