BALTIMORE (AP) — Leave it to a guy from SoCal to describe what’s happening with his team from NoCal.
“It’s tubular right now,” A’s pitcher Cole Irvin said.
The Athletics earned their 12th consecutive victory—the club’s longest winning streak in almost two decades—defeating the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Friday night.
Irvin, from Anaheim, California, took a shutout into the sixth inning to keep the A’s rolling.
Oakland’s string is its longest since it won a franchise-record 20 in a row in 2002. It is the Athletics’ third-longest winning streak since moving to Oakland in 1968 and is the longest in the majors since Houston’s 12-game run from June 6-18, 2018.
Ramón Laureano homered and Irvin won consecutive starts for the first time in nearly two years as the A’s improved to 13-1 since dropping their first six games.
“We are absolutely in this thing and we’re having a lot of fun,” Irvin said. “Even when we went on that little six-game skid, there was no panic in the locker room. In years past, I’ve seen it definitely encompass a room. The guys were more together during those six games.
“Right now, the vibes are really now. They’re high. We’re enjoying riding the wave right now,” he said.
Baltimore has lost seven of its eight home games.
Irvin (2-2) had won back-to-back starts just once before, his first two career starts for Philadelphia in May 2019. Coming off six shutout innings against Detroit on Saturday, he stymied the Orioles for five innings. But Baltimore stitched together four singles in the sixth, capped by Pedro Severino’s RBI single, to end Irvin’s night.
Reliever Yusmeiro Petit then retired the next two hitters to strand the bases loaded. Petit has allowed just one run over 10 innings in his last nine appearances.
“Key to the game, again,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve seen him do it I don’t know how many times. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when you’re not throwing 98 miles an hour, you don’t have a wipeout, strikeout pitch. He’s just very aware of what hitters like and don’t like and puts it just out of reach.”
Irvin allowed eight hits and a run in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six.
Jake Diekman worked the ninth to earn his second save in as many tries.
The Orioles were 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
“We had opportunities,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “We had an opportunity in the first inning, an opportunity in the sixth with the bases loaded. Just didn’t get the big hit. We have to move the ball with runners in scoring position. We’re punching out too often.”
Oakland tagged Baltimore starter Jorge López for two runs in the second inning. The first two batters of the inning walked and both moved up on a wild pitch. Seth Brown’s grounder scored the first run, and Stephen Piscotty followed with an RBI single.
Laureano chased López (1-3) with a solo shot to lead off the fifth. López allowed three runs and five hits while striking out one in four innings.
Athletics: OF Mark Canha was out of the lineup for the first time this season but is expected to play Saturday. “He’s just maybe a little under the weather,” Melvin said. “Nothing to do with COVID or anything. Just feeling a little funky today.” … Melvin said LHP A.J. Puk (strained biceps) was shut down for a few days, but is expected to resume throwing before the end of the weekend. … INF/OF Chad Pinder (sprained left knee) began a running progression Wednesday but has yet to resume full baseball activities.
Orioles: LHP John Means (1-0, 1.52 ERA) will receive an additional day of rest and start Sunday’s series finale. Means threw seven shutout innings Sunday at Texas in his last outing.
CAMDEN YARDS ADDS COVID-19 TESTING
Camden Yards began providing voluntary COVID-19 tests to fans Friday as part of a partnership between the club and the Maryland Department of Health. Free PCR tests will be available on the lower-level concourse at Camden Yards on each game day between when the gates open and either 2 ½ hours after first pitch or the top of the eighth inning, whichever comes first. The Orioles will not require testing to enter the stadium.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (1-2, 4.43 ERA), who is 2-0 with 2.18 in three career starts against Baltimore, receives the nod as the three-game series continues.
Orioles: Hyde said the Orioles will go with either a bullpen game or add a starter from the team’s alternate training site on Saturday.
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