Prior to this four-game series, Baltimore held sole possession of first place in the American League East, while the A's had lost eight of their previous nine games. Neither team has looked the part, however, as Oakland's cobbled-together rotation continues to frustrate an Orioles team that has scored three runs through three games.
"You're looking at the first guy who starts in the series and then the matchups aren't great in our favor after that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For them to pitch as well as they did is terrific."
Kendall Graveman and Zach Neal won the first two games, and on Wednesday it was Detwiler's turn, despite an ominous start. The lefty allowed a single to Adam Jones (who advanced to second on a wild pitch) and a double to J.J. Hardy to start the game, but Jones was thrown out at home on a relay. Detwiler didn't allow a runner past second base from that point on, scattering six hits and winning for the first time this season. He held the Orioles hitless over his final three innings.
"We continue to square it up but I'm not going to take anything away from Detwiler. He pitched good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He took advantage of his opportunity. We couldn't string anything together."
Gallardo has struggled mightily this year, but may be turning a corner. He delivered one of his finest starts since joining the Orioles prior to this season, allowing one run over six innings while tying his season high of six strikeouts. Gallardo hadn't allowed just a single run in a start since his debut on April 6 against the Twins.
Oakland acquired Detwiler on July 17 and optioned him to Triple-A, where he went 4-0 with a 3.86 ERA. The A's designated Patrick Schuster for assignment prior to Wednesday's game to clear room for Detwiler on the 40-man roster, and he became the 12th pitcher to start a game for the A's this season. It was his first win in a Major League start since May 10, 2013.
"It was way more than we expected," Melvin said. "Credit to him."
The Orioles drop to one game behind the Blue Jays in the American League East. They've spent all but 20 days of the 2016 season in first place.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Detwiler's dominant debut: Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Detwiler said he found a renewed joy for baseball upon being traded, which was reflected in his brief stint in Triple-A. The A's who have been hamstrung by injuries, elected to call on the veteran Detwiler instead of a younger prospect, and he delivered. He pitched out of Cleveland's bullpen briefly this year, posting a 5.79 ERA, and made seven starts for the Rangers in 2015. He hasn't pitched regularly in a Major League rotation since 2013 with the Nationals.
"You always expect to go deeper into games," Detwiler said. "Hard work pays off sometimes, and sometimes they hit the ball right at people." More >
Alonso's impressive stretch: Alonso roped a Gallardo changeup to right for a two-out RBI double in the third, continuing a stretch of strong hitting. He has batted .375 over his last 10 games, hitting five doubles and a homer with five multi-hit games. The first baseman also added another impressive defensive play in the seventh, diving to his right to stop a Chris Davis grounder.
"Just a lot more confidence," Melvin said. "Just as impressive as the double that drives in the run is the walk off [Zach] Britton later. Left on left there is not an easy at-bat. He's seeing the ball well."
Good golly, Gallardo: The right-hander delivered his third quality over his past four outings, but it wasn't enough to get him a second straight win. He gave up four hits over six innings, walking two and striking out six.
"I was able to command all my pitches from the first inning on," Gallardo said. "I mixed up my pitches and kept the ball down."
QUOTABLE "This game is tough. You go through stretches like this. We're working hard and doing all we can."-- Gallardo More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS A's starting pitchers have won three consecutive starts for the first time since May 28-30.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW Baltimore appeared to have a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game, when Jones was called safe on a play the plate following Hardy's double. The A's challenged, and replay review showed Jones never touched the plate with his front foot, and Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell tagged his back foot before he could reach the plate, overturning the call.
"I don't think one run was going to win it for us," Showalter said. "If he gets his front foot down he's safe."
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles:Chris Tillman makes the start for the Orioles in Thursday's 3:35 p.m. ET matinee. The right-hander is enjoying a solid season thus far, though he's 0-2 over his last three starts. He leads the team with 122 strikeouts and his .238 opponents batting average is the best among all starters.
Athletics:Andrew Triggs transitions from the bullpen to the starting rotation Thursday, taking the mound at 12:35 p.m. PT in the series finale against the Orioles at the Coliseum. Like Zach Neal on Tuesday, the A's call on Triggs to start despite being used as a long reliever all season. He has a 5.35 ERA in 19 appearances this year, and made one start this year on June 18, giving up one run in three innings to the Angels.