Loaiza looks to win his fifth straight decision when he takes the ball in the Athletics’ series finale against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday at McAfee Coliseum.
Loaiza (8-7, 4.82 ERA) lost his first three decisions of the year and didn’t win his first game until June 8, but has turned things around lately.
He is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in five starts during his winning streak, but has been even more spectacular in his last four outings. The right-hander is 3-0 and has allowed just one earned run in 30 2-3 innings over his last four starts, dropping his ERA nearly two runs from 6.41.
He also has not allowed an earned run in his last 28 2-3 innings, and has one walk and 18 strikeouts in 22 2-3 innings over his last three starts.
The 12-year veteran, who has not lost since July 28, gave up five hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win over Boston on Monday.
“Thought E-Lo was excellent again,” Oakland (78-57) manager Ken Macha said. “He’s had four great starts in a row.
“He’s been a command pitcher, and now he has command with both sides of the plate with his cut fastball.”
Loaiza hasn’t won five straight decisions in a single season since winning his first five starts of 2003 with the Chicago White Sox.
He is 8-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 17 career games against the Orioles (61-74), and won his only start against them this season, allowing four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory on July 18.
The A’s lost 6-5 on Saturday, snapping their season-high 10-game home winning streak.
Oakland remains a major league-best 22-6 since Aug. 2, and leads the second-place Los Angeles Angels by 7 1/2 games in the AL West.
Frank Thomas reached 30 home runs for the ninth time in his career—and the first since hitting 47 in 2003—with a three-run shot on Saturday. Thomas is batting .471 (8-for-17) with three homers and eight RBIs over his last five games.
“When you have some firepower in the lineup one swing of the bat can get you back in the game,” Macha said. “That’s what Frank did. He’s been impressive. He’s meant a lot to our club. He’s probably our MVP.”
Baltimore is 10-6 since Aug. 16, but has won just two of its last nine games against the A’s.
The Orioles lost 5-4 in Friday’s series opener, and jumped to a 5-0 lead on Saturday before allowing Oakland to rally.
“Again, it’s another game where we lost a tough one last night and the team came right out of the chute,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said.
Miguel Tejada drove in two runs on Saturday, and is batting .414 (12-for-29) in his last seven games.
Hayden Penn makes his first start of the season for Baltimore on Sunday.
Penn went 3-2 with a 6.34 ERA in eight starts last year for the Orioles.
The 21-year-old right-hander has spent this season in the minors, going 7-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Ottawa. He struck out 85 in 87 2-3 innings and gave up just five home runs.
He has never faced the A’s.