OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Not even a change in routine could throw Erik Bedard off his game.
Pushed back from his scheduled start two days before because of a stiff neck, Bedard (9-4) allowed one hit in seven innings and increased his major league-leading strikeout total to 167. He carried a no-hit bid into the sixth before Mark Ellis homered with two outs, ending Bedard’s scoreless streak at 21 innings.
“You always know when you have a no-hitter,” Bedard said. “But I’m not trying to get a no-hitter, so it doesn’t matter.”
Bedard woke up with a stiff neck Tuesday and was unable to throw his two side sessions between starts, prompting Orioles manager Dave Trembley to give him an extra couple of days to get back on his routine.
Was Bedard affected by the change?
“Not really,” he said. “I was just throwing strikes.”
“I think (Bedard) is the most underrated pitcher in baseball,” Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. “This guy’s ceiling is as high as the sky. It’s fun to watch this guy pitch.”
Oakland’s Nick Swisher slammed into the left-field fence while going after Brian Roberts’ double in the sixth. He winced in pain and grabbed his right shoulder. Swisher came out after the seventh with a bruised right shoulder.
Roberts drove in a pair of runs in the sixth to make it 6-0, sending A’s starter Joe Blanton to the showers.
Bedard, who beat the A’s for the first time in seven starts, won his sixth straight decision on the road.
Lately, Bedard has been winning everywhere. He hasn’t lost to an AL team since Oakland beat him on May 25. He’s lost only twice since an April 23 setback against the A’s.
“He makes it look easy because he throws that fastball for strike one,” Trembley said. “Then you see guys try to cheat a little bit to try and get out in front of that fastball and he just drops a breaking ball in there. The guy is dominating and he’s making it look easy and he’s throwing all his pitches for strikes.”
Bedard retired 13 straight before Ellis’ ninth homer. Ellis was the lone Athletics player to get beyond first base against him.
“We had to be aggressive because everybody is 0-2 all night,” Ellis said. “He threw a great game and he left it over the middle of the plate a little bit and I was able to drop the head on it.”
Bedard allowed five hits and walked four during his scoreless streak. He also struck out 31.
Blanton (8-7) lasted 5 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and 10 hits. He walked one and struck out three.
“I don’t know how many runs were with two outs but I think quite a few,” Blanton said. “It was like I was almost getting out of it but not quite. I didn’t do a good job getting the leadoff hitter out. You can’t be effective doing that.”
Baltimore’s Corey Patterson has flourished since Trembley was named interim manager in mid-June. Patterson extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-inning single, scoring the Orioles’ first run when Nick Markakis singled.
Patterson’s batting average was a season-low .205 the day Trembley replaced Sam Perlozzo. Since then, Patterson has been hitting at close to a .400 clip.
Ramon Hernandez singled home a run in the fourth, and Millar had an RBI single in the fifth.
Golden State Warriors G Baron Davis threw out the first pitch and received a standing ovation. … Orioles RHP Steve Trachsel was activated from the DL and will start on Saturday. … Blanton has received support of one run or less in 27 of his 84 starts and is 1-22 in those starts. … Patterson is hitting .380 (35-for-92) since Trembley took over.