BALTIMORE — Even Oakland ace Sonny Gray could not pull his team out of its hole.
Steve Clevenger hit a three-run homer off Gray, Chris Tillman won his seventh straight decision and the Baltimore Orioles completed a four-game sweep of the Athletics with a 4-2 victory Monday night.
Gray (12-5), who was scratched from his previous start with back spasms, allowed four runs (one earned) on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 5 2-3 innings. He is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts at Camden Yards.
Oakland went winless on its seven-game East Coast road trip.
“I could definitely tell that I hadn’t been on the mound in a while,” Gray said. “But I felt fine.”
Clevenger, who was called up Friday from Triple-A Norfolk, got his first homer since June 29, 2012. He also had a career-high four hits in Baltimore’s 18-2 victory Sunday.
“It feels great, especially this time of year,” Clevenger said. “Right now, we’re in the playoff race. Anything I can do to help the team. We’re on a good streak right now. We have to keep it going in the next series.”
The A’s entered the game leading the majors with 96 errors. Another miscue helped the Orioles take the lead in the fourth when a grounder by Chris Davis rolled through second baseman Eric Sogard’s legs. Jonathan Schoop followed with a single and then Clevenger connected for the three-run shot.
Oakland added to its major league leading error total Monday with three more miscues, giving it 99 for the season.
“When you have your ace on the mound, you want to play clean defensively,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “When you are not scoring many runs, you want to give yourself a chance because you know when he’s on the mound, runs are going to be tough to come by.”
Tillman (9-7) allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts over seven innings. He has not lost since May 31.
“We need to get on a run here and play good baseball like we have been,” Tillman said. “We’re swinging the bats well.”
Darren O’Day had a perfect eighth and Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
Danny Valencia provided the A’s with a 1-0 lead when he homered to lead off the second. Valencia has a hit in nine of 10 games since being claimed off waivers Aug. 3.
In the fifth, Sam Fuld was called out for running out of the baseline. He and Melvin were then ejected by home plate umpire Brian Knight for arguing the call.
“I went out there and found out Sam had been thrown out,” Melvin said. “I told him, ‘You were wrong,’ and he threw me out.”
The A’s pulled to within 3-2 on a homer by Mark Canha in the sixth. Caleb Joseph responded with a two-out, RBI double for the Orioles, who got their first four-game sweep of the A’s since 1987.
“It’s not fun when you go through stuff like we just did,” Gray said. “We have to go home and put this behind us.”
A’s outfielder Coco Crisp, who returned from the DL on Aug. 3 after missing two months with a neck injury, was held out of the lineup because of hip and ankle soreness after colliding with shortstop Marcus Semien on Sunday.
Left-hander Felix Doubront (1-1, 4.59 ERA) gets the start Tuesday as Oakland returns home to face the Dodgers and their ace, Clayton Kershaw.
Billy BurnsBob MelvinChris DavisEric SogardMLBOakland A'sSonny Gray