Outman looks to lead A's out of the abyss vs. O's

Outman looks to lead A's out of the abyss vs. O's
June 8, 2011, 2:10 pm
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June 8, 2011

A's (27-35) vs.
BALTIMORE (28-31)

Coverage begins at 4 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

BALTIMORE (AP) -- When the Oakland Athletics swept the Baltimore Orioles in late May, their four-game winning streak pulled them back to the .500 mark and seemed to instill confidence.

Eight straight defeats later, the A's are hoping to avoid a third consecutive three-game sweep and first in Baltimore in nearly 13 years.

Josh Outman takes the mound against Baltimore again Wednesday night when the teams complete a three-game set at Camden Yards.

The A's (27-35) capped their season-high winning streak with a three-game sweep of the Orioles from May 27-29 - the beginning of 12 straight games against AL East opponents. Oakland hasn't won since, suffering three-game sweeps at the hands of the New York Yankees then Boston.

After Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Baltimore, Oakland is on the verge of its first nine-game losing streak since losing 10 straight from July 28-Aug. 7, 2008, and has lost 15 of 20 overall.

REWIND: A's freefall continues with loss in Baltimore

The Orioles' last three-game sweep of the A's in Baltimore came July 21-23, 1998.

"It seems like it's been happening like that all year - especially the last couple of weeks," center fielder Ryan Sweeney said. "We're having good at-bats but can't put anything together and hit it right at somebody."

Outman (1-0, 4.02 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start this season and second against Baltimore, which he beat 4-2 on May 28. The left-hander allowed two runs through six innings for his lone victory.

To duplicate the feat, Outman likely must improve from his most recent start Friday, when gave up five runs through only 2 2-3 innings in an 8-6 loss to Boston.

Oakland's offense - a concern all season - became weaker with the loss of Mark Ellis to a hamstring injury which landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Jemile Weeks, brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks, made his major league debut in Ellis' place Tuesday and went 0 for 4.

Josh Willingham had a stellar series against Baltimore in May, going 5 for 11 with two home runs and seven RBIs. However, he's 1 for 8 with four strikeouts in this series.

Willingham hit a three-run homer May 29 off Zach Britton (5-4, 3.33 ERA), who will oppose Outman.

The Orioles (28-31) lost that contest 6-4, with Britton surrendering all six runs through 5 2-3 innings. The rookie hasn't won since beating the Chicago White Sox on May 1, going 0-3 with a 4.03 ERA in six starts since.

Britton allowed seven runs through five innings in a loss to Toronto on Friday in his most recent start.

Baltimore's eight runs in the first two games of the series equal its three-game total in its last set against Oakland. J.J. Hardy, Luke Scott and Adam Jones each homered Tuesday to help the Orioles win for the fourth time in six games.

Jones has hit safely in six of his last seven games, going 12 for 28 (.429) with two home runs. The center fielder went 1 for 10 in the previous series against the A's.

The Orioles have won three of four meetings in Baltimore.