Stephen Drew shines as A’s top Orioles, boost AL West bid
Oakland, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The Oakland Athletics closed in on division-leading Texas thanks to the efforts of Stephen Drew, who homered and made a pair of defensive plays to back Jarrod Parker en route to a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles Saturday night.
Oakland (84-61) is only two games behind the AL West-leading Rangers.
Drew, acquired from Arizona on Aug. 20, smacked a solo blast off Baltimore starter Zach Britton that sparked a five-run outburst in the third inning.
It was the 29-year-old Drew’s second home run as a member of the Athletics and fourth overall.
Drew, who was brought to Oakland in the hopes of improving the lineup, including the A’s shortstops which then had a .190 batting average, made a defensive gem in the fourth, when he threw out Adam Jones trying to score from first on Chris Davis’ double down the left-field line.
After taking the relay from Yoenis Cespedes, Drew zipped a strike to catcher Derek Norris to nab Jones.
In the seventh, Drew ran to the middle to field Endy Chavez’s grounder behind second base and made a glove flip to Adam Rosales to force out Mark Reynolds.
Chris Carter ripped a two-run double as part of the third-inning burst, while Josh Reddick added two hits and an RBI for Oakland, which has taken the first two contests of this three-game series.
Parker (11-8) allowed seven hits and a pair of runs over seven innings for the Athletics, who has two rookie with at least 10 wins for the second time in Oakland history and first since 2009.
Parker’s fellow rookie pitcher Tommy Milone has 10 victories.
Britton (5-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up four hits and five runs over four frames.
Baltimore (81-64), which dropped one game behind the Yankees in the AL East, will attempt to avoid a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon with left-handed veteran Randy Wolf (2-0, 5.68) getting his first start with the O’s.
Wolf, who signed with the O’s after being released by Milwaukee, has pitched three times in relief for Baltimore.
Baltimore has not won a season series against the A’s since 1998.
The A’s (84-61), who lead the series 5-3 this year, and secured a series triumph again, will counter with Dan Straily (2-0, 3.42), who has been successful in his last two starts.
The win also padded Oakland’s lead in the American League Wild Card race to three games over Baltimore.