Markakis, Jones, McLouth power O's past A's
Tillman goes six strong as O's win first series in Oakland since '07
OAKLAND -- Nick Markakis knows the Baltimore Orioles have struggled at O.co Coliseum in the past. He also knows that it has nothing to do with the present.
Whether it means something or not, Markakis can look to the start of this road trip as a portent to future road series.
"I know we have struggled here," Markakis said after hitting a two-run homer that helped the Orioles beat the Oakland Athletics, 7-3, Saturday. "Our record has not been very good. But we've won the first three, and that's a good way to start a road trip."
The Orioles clinched their fourth consecutive series win and have won eight of their past 10 games.
It's the team's first series win of any kind in Oakland since July 20-22, 2007, and the first four-game series win here since July 31-Aug. 4, 1997. On Sunday, they go for their first four-game series sweep in Oakland since May 22-25, 1987.
"It's another challenge for us regardless of the way we played the last three days," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's another day game in a tough place."
Markakis said one of the satisfying things about this series has been the contributions from different people.
"When we're going good, it's not because one, two or three guys are carrying the team," he said. "It's 25 guys all doing their jobs."
Adam Jones and Nate McLouth, who also drove in two runs, both added a homer as the Orioles rallied from a deficit for the second time in three games.
For Jones, it was his first home run in Oakland. It means he has hit a long ball in every American League park in which he has played. The Orioles first visit to Houston is in early June.
"You're going to go through periods where not everybody is hitting," Showalter said. "You have to trust their track records and try to be patient. It's April, and I try to keep that in mind and get a grip on reality."
Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy also drove in runs for the Orioles, who have won six of eight series so far.
Chris Tillman (1-1) threw six strong innings as Orioles pitchers continue to work effectively and deep into games. He gave up two runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out a season-high seven batters.
"I struggled really, but [Taylor Teagarden] did a good job of getting me back on track," Tillman said. "It all comes down to first-pitch strikes. I wasn't doing it early, and then my offspeed stuff started coming around."
"That's typically what happens with starters," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Tillman. "They're most vulnerable, a lot of times, earlier in the game. Once they get into a rhythm and get going, they seem to get better. That was the case with him. We were a hit or two shy from actually breaking it open."
After spotting the A's a 2-0 lead, Baltimore responded with four runs in the fourth, starting with Markakis and Jones' back-to-back homers. Hardy singled in a run later in the inning.
McLouth hit a home run to lead off the eighth, and Davis hit a sacrifice fly for another run. McLouth also hit an RBI single the ninth.
The Orioles faced anxious moment in the ninth. Pedro Strop started the inning by hitting Adam Rosales in the helmet on a full count and then walking Coco Crisp.
Enter Jim Johnson, who promptly gave up a single to John Jaso to load the bases. He got Seth Smith on a short fly to left field and induced a double-play ball out of Jed Lowrie for his 10th save. He's converted his last 31 save opportunities, three shy of the Orioles' franchise record held by Randy Myers.