OAKLAND — When Bob Melvin arrived at the Oakland Coliseum on Friday, he noticed a food truck parked in the team lot. That was OK. The vehicle wasn’t stationed in any of the five to six spots he usually parks in for good luck.
The Athletics then received a stroke of good fortune in the eighth inning of Friday’s game en route to a 5-4 comeback victory over the Orioles.
With the contest tied and runners at second and third with one out, right fielder Chad Pinder hit a pop up in foul territory near first base. But Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis dropped the ball, and Pinder hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly later in the at-bat.
“I’m glad he didn’t park in one of my superstitious spaces,” Melvin said before the game. “I’ve been searching here for the last three days. I’ve been trying different spots.”
Starter Paul Blackburn, who entered with a 2.60 ERA, allowed four runs in 5.2 innings. Oakland struck out 11 times against right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. But despite a slow start, the Athletics battled back to snap their three-game losing skid.
“It was a grind [against Jimenez],” said first baseman Matt Olson, who hit a home run off the right-hander. “But I’m glad we got the win.”
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones led off the second inning with a line-drive home run to left field. It was his second straight game with a long ball – on Thursday, he went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Jones brought home Baltimore’s second run in the fourth inning. He hit into a double play with runners at the corners and no outs.
Then, after left fielder Trey Mancini hit a single, designated hitter Mark Trumbo and first baseman Chris Davis walked to load the bases. But Blackburn got former Athletics outfielder Seth Smith to ground out to end the inning.
Jonathan Schoop doubled home two more runs for the Orioles in the fifth.
“The ball was just elevated a bit more today [from Blackburn],” Melvin said. “When the ball is elevated, maybe it’s a bit flatter in terms of the movement. … He minimized the damage a little bit to keep us in the game, so if that’s a bad one for him we’ll take it.”
Ubaldo Jimenez recorded eight strikeouts through three shutout innings. His fourth inning wasn’t as smooth.
Second baseman Jed Lowrie doubled. Designated hitter Khris Davis doubled. First baseman Matt Olson crushed a high-flying two-run home run to center field that hung in the air for more than six seconds, according to Statcast.
“We got him,” Melvin joked. “He has a wide assortment of pitches, so when you go up there you have so many pitches you have to deal with, sometimes you just get caught in between. … So you have to just narrow his pitches down to a couple.”
In the eighth, down 4-3, left fielder Matt Joyce doubled, shortstop Marcus Semien singled and Lowrie hit a game-tying ground rule double.
After Chris Davis dropped the foul pop up, Pinder gave Oakland the lead with his sacrifice fly to right. Reliever Blake Treinen earned the save with a flawless ninth inning.
“That shows a lot of character from a young team,” Lowrie said of the win.
Perhaps Melvin will choose to park in the same space before Saturday’s game.
BOOG POWELL SCRATCHED
Center fielder Boog Powell, originally slated to hit ninth after getting called up before the game, was scratched from the lineup due to illness. Third baseman Matt Chapman exited Thursday’s game early with a stomach ailment but returned for Friday’s game.
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