Cahill, Sweeney lead Athletics past Orioles
BALTIMORE – Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren is touting Trevor Cahill as a deserving member of the AL All-Star team.
A manager pushing to have one of his players in the game is not unusual. In this case, however, the statistics back up Geren’s assessment.
Cahill pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to earn his seventh straight win, and Oakland got four hits apiece from Ryan Sweeney and Cliff Pennington in an 8-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
Cahill (8-2) gave up a run, struck out four and walked one in lowering his ERA to 2.74. The right-hander is 7-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his past nine starts.
“He’s just thrown quality start after quality start,” Geren said. “He’s real good. He’s commanding both sides of the plate with his fastball, which is really opening up his changeup. He’s really using all of his pitches effectively. He has all the tools.”
But does he have the stuff to be an All-Star?
“Without a doubt,” Geren said. “I mentioned it to Joe (Girardi) about our best candidates, and he was definitely one of them.”
Cahill would be honored to join the AL squad, but that’s not what motivates him when he takes the mound.
“It would be great. I’m really happy I’m in contention,” he said. “I don’t try to think about it too much. I just try to go out there and win.”
It would have been nice to put his first career complete game on the resume, but Cahill was pulled after throwing 95 pitches and with Oakland comfortably up by seven runs.
“I got a little tired there at the end,” he said. “Up by that much, there was no point in risking it. I just figured save it for next time.”
Sweeney, Pennington and Jack Cust had two RBIs apiece for the A’s, who took two of three for their first road series win in five tries since May 29-31 in Detroit. Oakland has won four series away from home, half of them in Baltimore.
Sweeney’s four hits (all singles) tied a career high. He was 10 for 56 (.179) in his previous 17 games.
Making his fifth major league start, Baltimore’s Jake Arrieta (2-2) allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in six innings.
“You know, there’s a lot to take out of that outing,” he said. “Although I’m not happy about it, I think it’s definitely something to build off.”
After Arrieta left, Oakland scored four seventh-inning runs against a bullpen that boasted an 0.77 ERA over the previous six games.
Josh Bell made his major league debut as Baltimore’s starting third baseman after being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day. He went 1 for 4 and started two double plays in the field, but his throwing error in the fifth inning contributed to an unearned run.
“Growing up as a kid, it’s your dream to get to the big leagues and have your team win,” Bell said. “We didn’t get the win, but it felt good to get the first one out of the way.”
He kept the ball from his first hit, a sixth-inning single.
The Orioles went up 1-0 in the first when Corey Patterson doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis, only his fifth RBI in 20 games. It was the first time this season Cahill allowed a first-inning run.
Oakland answered with three runs in the second. Cust hit an RBI double, and Pennington received credit for a two-run double when Patterson fell down after misjudging his liner to left.
“It was hit right at me. Those are the toughest ones,” Patterson said. “I tried to play it the best I could, but that’s what happened.”
Sweeney hit an RBI single in the fifth, and Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate in seventh against relievers Frank Mata and Matt Albers. Sweeney singled in a run and Cust hit an RBI double before Mark Ellis and Gabe Gross delivered run-scoring singles.
NOTES: Oakland 1B Daric Barton left in fifth inning with a bruised right knee and bruised left shin. … US soccer coach Bob Bradley threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Oakland LHP Dallas Braden experienced no pain in his elbow during a bullpen session and expects to start Saturday vs. Cleveland. … Despite the loss, Baltimore finished 5-4 on its second winning homestand of the season.
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