Athletics

A's exceeding expectations? Plus Beane responds to Hill

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A's exceeding expectations? Plus Beane responds to Hill

OAKLAND -- Unbelievable would be an unfair way to describe the 2012 Oakland Athletics. What they have accomplished even before taking the field against the Texas Rangers with the American League West title on the line has been one of the biggest surprises in baseball. But has the team even exceeded the expectations of their general manager? "We didn't set expectations," Billy Beane said. "We wanted to create a team that had a chance to get better from the first day forward. That was the expectation we set." They may not have started strong, but they have definitely done just that. Oakland was 13 games behind the Rangers on June 30. Since then they have gone a Major League-leading 56-26 and are a season-high 25 games over .500. The run the A's are on has gathered the attention of the national media, the fans, and has even recaptured the attention of Hollywood after the Moneyball buzz. If the Oakland A's go all the way this yet Pitt and I better get rings. Jonah Hill (@JonahHill) October 2, 2012Beane responded to Hill when speaking with select members of the media during the A's closed door meeting. "It would be nice to be able to make that decision," Beane said. "We're a long way from that." It turns out the closed door clubhouse meeting was to go over travel scenarios. That's what we are being told at least. The A's aren't exactly in need of a pep talk anyways. They are playing loose, and having fun. "It's the way that we've played all year," Brandon Inge said. "We don't change a thing we do. It doesn't matter what situation we are in." "We're going to go out there and have fun, play loose and go out there and lay it all out there," George Kottaras said. "We're just going to have fun with it that's what it's all about." With heaps of pressure packed on the A's, uncertainties about travel scenarios, and the dangerous defending American League Champions playing with their backs against the wall, manager Bob Melvin simplified matters as he usually does. "I know that if we win today, we win today," Melvin said, drawing laughs from the assembled media. Simple enough.

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

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NBCSportsCalifornia.com

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

A’s starter Paul Blackburn left Tuesday’s start in the fifth inning after a liner struck him on the right wrist.

Blackburn was in obvious pain after the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini hit the line shot back up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth at Camden Yards. The ball hit Blackburn flush, and he exited the field shortly after being visited by team trainer Nick Paparesta.

There was no immediate word from the A’s on the severity of his injury. But it was a very unfortunate turn of events for Oakland’s rookie, who largely has impressed in 10 starts since being called up from the minors. He got through four scoreless innings Tuesday, showing sharp form after giving up 18 hits over his previous two starts.

Simon Castro came on in relief as the A’s led the Orioles 5-0 in the fifth. Ryon Healy has homered twice for Oakland.

A's give up four home runs, drop series opener to Orioles

A's give up four home runs, drop series opener to Orioles

BOX SCORE

BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones called it a game the Baltimore Orioles needed to win.

The center fielder set the early tone, and the rest of the team followed his lead.

Jones hit a pair of home runs, Jonathan Schoop added a three-run shot and Baltimore beat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Monday night. The Orioles won for the second time in six games, but they are still in the thick of the wild-card race.

"Adam's done that a lot and it never goes unnoticed or unappreciated or assumed, more importantly," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Jon obviously had a big blow there, but can't tell you how hard it is, as hard as Adam plays as long as he plays, and then mid-to-late August you're still able to do that. That's one of the things that separates Adam."

Wade Miley (7-10) held the A's to two runs, five hits and four walks over six-plus innings to pick up his first win at Camden Yards since June 17. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against Oakland this season.

Jones tied a career high with four hits and is one home run shy of reaching 25 for the seventh consecutive season. Zach Britton got the final out with two runners on for his 11th save this season and his 60th in a row.

Baltimore beat Chris Smith (0-3) for the second time in 12 days. Smith allowed five runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings - his shortest start of the season. He was pulled after allowing Schoop's three-run homer, which made it 5-1. Ryan Dull entered and allowed another homer by Jones.

"I always feel strong at this time of the season," Jones said. "It's called pacing myself. I've learned how to pace myself over the years."

Jed Lowrie homered for the A's, and Boog Powell hit his first career home run in the eighth inning, appropriately enough doing so in Baltimore, where an unrelated Boog Powell slugged 303 home runs and won the 1970 MVP.

"It didn't seem real," said Powell, who made his major league debut earlier this season with Seattle and was acquired in a trade earlier this month for Yonder Alonso.

The younger Powell is expected to meet his namesake for the first time Tuesday, according to MLB.com.

Welington Castillo responded for Baltimore with a solo home run in the eighth off Michael Brady that provided the 7-3 lead.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Matt ChapmanChad Pinder was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on the play.

The Orioles tied it in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Mark Trumbo. Jones led off the fourth with a homer and Baltimore never trailed again.

"He's a good hitter for a reason. It's tough," Smith said about Jones. "You try to attack his zones, and it seems like I make a good pitch and he breaks his bat but he finds somehow to put it in the outfield."

MACHADO HONORED:
Manny Machado became the third Oriole to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining Schoop (July 23) and Tim Beckham (Aug. 7). Machado batted .385 (10 for 26) with four home runs and 12 RBIs over six games.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: C Bruce Maxwell, who took a foul ball off his face mask Saturday at Houston, did not start for the second consecutive game. He entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and went 0 for 2. . SS Marcus Semien left in the seventh with a wrist injury.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) went 0 for 3 with a walk on Monday in his first rehabilitation game with Triple-A Norfolk.

UP NEXT:
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (3-1, 3.46 ERA) received a no-decision after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his lone appearance against Baltimore on Aug. 11.

Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8, 6.47 ERA) struggled in his previous outing against Seattle, when he was charged with six runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. He is 4-1 with a 4.70 ERA in eight career starts against Oakland.