Athletics 11, Orioles 0
BALTIMORE (AP)—No longer is there any reason to doubt Tim Hudson’s effectiveness following a six-week stint on the disabled list.
Hudson pitched a five-hitter to earn his first victory since June 11, and Scott Hatteberg’s second grand slam of the season highlighted a four-homer attack that carried the Oakland Athletics past the Baltimore Orioles 11-0 Tuesday night.
Hudson (8-4) struck out four and walked none in his third complete game this season and 16th of his career. It was his third start since his stay on the DL with a ribcage injury.
“I feel like I haven’t missed a beat, and I don’t how it’s happened,” he said. “It was just one of those nights. You wish you could bottle it up. Next time out, I may stink, so I’m going to savor this one.”
Judging by his effortless performance against the Orioles, it’s hard to imagine Hudson being anything but solid. He threw 97 pitches, 66 in the strike zone, in his eighth career shutout.
“Shutouts don’t come too often for me. I’m usually a seven- or eight-inning pitcher,” he said. “I didn’t put a lot of emphasis in finishing the game, but a shutout looks good in the stats column.”
Asked if it was one of the best starts of his career, Hudson replied, “It was definitely up there.”
Hudson is 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA in nine career starts against the Orioles. He helped Oakland maintain a half-game lead over second-place Texas in the AL West.
“He kept the ball down, got quick outs, had a good fastball and maintained that velocity throughout the entire game,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “He looked the same in the ninth inning as he did in the beginning of the game.”
The loss ended Baltimore’s run of winning four straight series. The Orioles had won 11 of 13 games overall and eight straight at home before Oakland came to town.
Center fielder Jerry Hairston twisted his left ankle trying to make a leaping catch on Melhuse’s homer in the eighth inning and had to helped off the field.
X-rays were inconclusive, but Hairston feared he broke a bone. Hairston is to have a bone scan on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t look good,” said Mazzilli, who gathered his players behind closed doors and stressed the importance of putting the loss behind them.
“I told them we’ve got to be positive. We’ve been playing good baseball the past two or three weeks, and a game like this happens,” he said. “I don’t want this to take away from what we’ve achieved. We’re all mad that we got our heads handed to us, but that’s OK. It’s over with now.”
Dye snapped a scoreless duel in the fifth, hitting a two-out solo shot off Rodrigo Lopez (10-8) on a 3-2 pitch. It was his 19th homer, but only the second since July 19.
Singles by Melhuse and Marco Scutaro chased Lopez with one out in the sixth. John Parrish retired Mark Kotsay, but Byrnes followed with an RBI single. Parrish then walked Eric Chavez to load the bases, and Todd Williams walked Dye to force in a run.
Hatteberg followed with a drive to right that barely cleared the outstretched arm of Jay Gibbons and put Oakland up 7-0. It was his 14th homer of the season and fourth career slam.
“I didn’t hit it very good, just barely put it out,” Hatteberg said. “I was hoping it carried to the scoreboard. I thought it would get caught.”
Byrnes connected off Williams with a man on in the seventh, and Melhuse hit a two-run homer off Eddy Rodriguez in the eighth.
Oakland loaded the bases with one out in the second before Lopez struck out Bobby Crosby and retired Scutaro on a fly ball. In the third, Hatteberg hit a routine fly after the A’s got runners on the corners with two outs.
Hatteberg has eight career homers against the Orioles, tied with Texas for the most against any team. … Crosby went 0-for-4 and is 1-for-23 over his last seven games. … Baltimore’s David Newhan singled in the first inning and has hit safely in 44 of 55 games this season. … Chavez returned after a two-day absence with a stiff back. … Dye is 4-for-13 in his career against Lopez, including two homers. … The Orioles went over 2 million in attendance for the 16th straight season. … Oakland has five shutouts; Baltimore has been blanked nine times.