Smolinski, Neal help A's win second straight over Orioles
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Oakland Athletics middle reliever Liam Hendriks pumped his fist and did a little spin as he came off the mound after striking out Baltimore Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo to end the seventh inning.
Ryan Madson wasn't as demonstrative but was equally pumped up after getting Chris Davis to strike out looking to end the game with the tying run on first base.
Manager Bob Melvin's ballclub might have the third-worst record in the AL but they clearly are still having a good time.
Jake Smolinski singled and scored the deciding run in the third inning, rookie Zach Neal earned his first career win as a starter and Oakland held on to beat Baltimore 2-1 on Tuesday night.
''You're going to go through waves and we're on a good wave right now,'' Madson said. ''Everybody's feeding off each other, and it's fun when everybody's doing that.''
Danny Valencia and Khris Davis drove in a run apiece as the A's won consecutive games for the first time since July 26-27 to keep Wade Miley winless in an Orioles uniform.
Smolinksi finished with two hits and two walks while Marcus Semien singled and scored as Oakland won its second straight one-run game from AL East-leading Baltimore.
The Orioles remain percentage points ahead of Toronto, which lost earlier Tuesday night.
Like they did in the series opener, the A's got strong starting pitching, solid relief and just enough hitting.
Neal (2-1) allowed one run over 5 1-3 innings and retired 16 of the 18 batters he faced to win his second career start and first since May 25. He gave up Adam Jones' home run in the fourth and a double to Jonathan Schoop leading off the sixth.
''Boy that was impressive,'' Melvin said. ''For a guy that's thrown 39, 40 pitches tops for us in relief here recently, to give us 75, 80 is what I was looking for from him and he was terrific.''
Neal's only other win in the majors came in relief against San Francisco on June 28.
''It's not like he struck us out,'' Jones said. ''He just kept getting ground balls and balls right at people. Tough luck. Same thing as last night.''
Hendriks retired five batters and punctuated his night by striking out Trumbo. John Axford pitched the eighth and Madson worked the ninth for his 24th save to complete the three-hitter.
Jones singled leading off the ninth but Hyun-Soon Kim hit into a 1-6-3 double play. Madson walked Manny Machado before Chris Davis struck out looking.
''It's a lot of fun to be a part of,'' Madson said after the A's bullpen combined for 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief. ''That's what it's all about for us in the bullpen.''
The A's did all of their scoring in the third off Miley. Valencia doubled in Semien, and Smolinksi singled and scored on Davis' sacrifice fly.
Miley (7-10) pitched well but remained winless since arriving from Seattle a day before the trade deadline. The lefty allowed two runs over six-plus innings and struck out two.
NEAR PERFECT PROSPECT
Jharel Cotton, one of three prospects acquired when the A's traded Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Los Angeles Dodgers, came within one out of a perfect game while pitching for Triple-A Nashville against Round Rock on Tuesday night. Cotton retired the first 26 batters he faced before Greg Bernier tripled on a 2-1 pitch. The right-hander finished with a one-hit shutout and 12 strikeouts. ''Impressive outing,'' Melvin said. ''When you make a trade like that we certainly like to see our guys do well when they get here.''
Orioles: T.J. McFarland had his scheduled rehab start in the Gulf Coast League rained out Tuesday. McFarland, on the DL because of inflammation in his left knee, will pitch on Wednesday instead and the team will decide where he goes after that.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-3) pitches the third game of the series Wednesday and is seeking to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.
Athletics: Ross Detwiler (0-0) will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to make his debut with Oakland. The lefty was obtained in a trade from Cleveland two weeks before the trade deadline.