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Catchers help A's snag 11-inning win

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Oakland A's are doing something a bit unusual and carrying three catchers on their roster. On Friday night, every one of them helped the A's rally for a big come-from-behind victory.

Stephen Vogt drove in John Jaso with a pinch-single in the top of the 11th inning to give the A's a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

Vogt is a catcher who was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento last Sunday. He finished the game in right field after pinch hitting, but catching is his primary position.

Jaso - a catcher batting for catcher Derek Norris, who homered earlier -- started the winning rally with a pinch-double off Evan Meek (0-2) leading off the 11th.

Jaso went to third one out later when Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy booted a grounder off the bat of designated hitter Alberto Callaspo. Vogt, who was pinch-hitting for Kyle Blanks, then singled to left to bring in Jaso from second and snap the 3-3 tie.

"When you have three catchers on a team, we always want to be in the game at the same time," Vogt said. "It's just kind of something we love to have. It was fun for the three of us to get into the same game and all contribute."

Norris (2-for-4), Jaso and Vogt combined for four of the 10 A's hits. They also drove in two of the team's four runs.

The A's (38-23) actually got lots of help from many places. After starter Tommy Milone allowed three runs in six innings, four pitchers from the Oakland bullpen combined to blank the Orioles (30-29) in the final five innings.

Fernando Abad (1-2) got the win. Sean Doolittle came on in the 11th and picked up his eighth save by striking out the side.

The A's also made a number of stellar plays on defense, from a Craig Gentry diving catch in center to Brandon Moss throwing out Nick Markakis at the plate in the 10th inning to keep the game alive. Nelson Cruz then tried to steal home, but Abad saw it and quickly threw to Norris, who tagged him out to move the game into the 11th.

Also, all three Oakland pinch-hitters reached base and helped score a run.

"Everybody contributed today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There's not a facet, whether it was offensive, defensively or the pitching end that multiple guys weren't contributing."

Oakland had problems against Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, getting two just runs in his 6 2/3 innings. Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer in the first and Norris did the same thing in the second for a 2-0 lead, but the Orioles then scored three straight runs.

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop's RBI single in the second made it 2-1. First baseman Chris Davis tied it with a solo homer in the fourth, and third baseman Manny Machado gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead with his solo shot off Milone in the fifth.

That came a few minutes after things got interesting at the end of the third when center fielder Adam Jones grounded to Donaldson at third, and he ran over and tagged Machado, who was running toward the base.

Donaldson appeared to tag him a little hard, which Machado apparently didn't like, so he got right back into the Oakland third baseman's face for a moment. Both benches emptied, the players were separated and everything quickly calmed down.

"Didn't agree on the tag," Machado said. "Right play, he made the right play, but just didn't agree on the tag that he made on me and I just had to get up and confront him. You get in the heat of the moment and things start flying. It's part of the game and you're going to have to continue."

Donaldson said, "I don't know what happened on his end, but just trying to do my job and play the game of baseball."

The A's rallied in the eighth and tied the score on an RBI double by left fielder Yoenis Cespedes off Darren O'Day.

"There's a lot of great things that really happened tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Unfortunately, they did a couple more than we did."

NOTES: The Orioles made a bunch of moves Friday. RHP Miguel Gonzalez was put on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 31 (straight right oblique). RHP Preston Guilmet was optioned to Norfolk. Also, the Orioles recalled LHP Tim Berry from Double-A Bowie and selected the contract of RHP Evan Meek from Triple-A Norfolk. To clear a space for Meek on the 40-man roster, Baltimore moved IF Michael Almanzar to the 60-day disabled list. ... The Orioles also will bring up RHP Kevin Gausman from Triple-A Norfolk to start in Saturday's middle game of the series with Berry, who has never been above Double-A, likely going back. The Orioles also could get Tommy Hunter back from the DL for Sunday's game. ... Oakland manager Bob Melvin said he is trying to get OF Coco Crisp (neck problems) some extra rest to help him feel better, and he wasn't in Friday's starting lineup but came on later. Melvin said he's going to be more "pro-active" about getting him some rest. ... RHP Jim Johnson returns to Baltimore, where he had been the closer the past two seasons, for the first time with Oakland. He struggled with the Orioles last year and is 3-2 with a 6.26 ERA this year. "A lot of memories, but it's obviously different, going into a different clubhouse. It's cool, we'll see how the game goes," he said before the game.
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