OAKLAND -- On a night that Major League Baseball's 500,000th error was committed, the A's defense dazzled at the Oakland Coliseum. After making an American League-worst 124 errors in 2011, the A's made it their priority to focus on their glove work going forward and the leather was on full display on Saturday as they again held the Orioles to just two runs to win the game 5-2.Stephen Drew's all-over-the-place effort led the way. He snared a liner that saved a hit, made a highlight reel glove flip on a play ranging up the middle, ranged deep into foul territory to make a catch, and was the relay man in possibly the most pivotal play of the game. "I just told him 'You had a busy night, huh?'" starting pitcher Jarrod Parker said of Drew. "He's running the left field line, up the middle, everywhere. That's what's fun to watch and he's able to make some great plays and it really helps out mentally for me."As the media assembled around Drew for his postgame comments, reliever Ryan Cook walked by and proclaimed in a joking fashion that Drew is the best shortstop ever. On this night he sure looked the part."I like getting action out there instead of sitting back on my hill," Drew said. Oh, and he hit a home run too. Drew really did do it all on this evening. His second home run with the A's put Oakland on the board in the third inning. It sparked a five-run rally that saw 10 batters step to the plate."It's been fun being here," Drew said. "It's kind of crazy how this team works sometimes."The five-run rally featured RBI singles from Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes and a two-run opposite field double down the right field line hit by Chris Carter. On Carter's double Cespedes got a great jump and was running so fast that he almost passed Reddick on the base paths. "Reddick runs pretty good but when Cespedes gets going full tilt he runs really well," Melvin said. "It was a big inning for us."After the A's big inning, the Orioles were answering with a rally of their own. Adam Jones led off with a single and Chris Davis clubbed a double to the wall in left field. As Jones rounded third and headed for for home, Cespedes got to the ball and came up throwing. He hit Drew with a perfectly-aimed throw and Drew turned and fired home to catcher Derek Norris, who caught the ball in perfect position to make the tag on Jones at the plate. The impressive defensive effort stopped the Orioles in their tracks and seemed to deflate them offensively. "You see that play not go right a lot," Melvin said. "Everything has to work on a play like that."Parker was the beneficiary of the A's stout defense and explosive inning, but he made his own luck with another solid pitching performance, earning his 11th win of the season. He lasted seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He now has 119 strikeouts this season, which is fifth-most for a rookie in Oakland history. He fell behind 2-0 early in the game after allowing an RBI double to Mark Reynolds in the second inning and a solo homer to Nate McLouth in the third inning, but grounded the Orioles hitters after that. "Early on I was kind of battling myself a little bit and then I was able to get over that and just pitch a little better," Parker said. "They are an aggressive team and I got some early contact with some offspeed pitches and that helped out." The A's victory over the Orioles could come in handy later as it clinched the season series. If the A's and O's finish with the same record atop the Wild Card standings, the one-game Wild Card playoff game will now take place in Oakland. The A's are now a season-high 23 games over .500 and just two games behind the Rangers in the American League West after Texas lost 8-6 to the Mariners on Saturday. Oakland hasn't been this close to Texas in the standings since April 13.
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"We know that stuff is going on," Parker said. "We just want to win. That's all you can ask for. If we take care of our business then good things are going to happen."Oakland has won eight of the last nine games, and are 41-18 since the All-Star Break. They are keeping it all in perspective behind their even keel manager. "As long as we can try to remain in the moment not get too caught up in how things are going, what's being written, and where you are in the season, and just kind of play for the day and have all your energies in that, then I think it's easier to focus and stay calm," Melvin said.