Roberts makes his contribution to Orioles' win

Jeff Seidel, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts and Jim Johnson looked like their old selves on Friday night and the Baltimore Orioles enjoyed seeing them that way.
Roberts hit a grand slam that sparked a six-run fourth inning and Johnson posted his first save in 17 days with a dominant performance in the ninth to help the Orioles close out a 9-7 victory over the Oakland A's at Camden Yards.
The longtime Oriole second baseman battled injury problems throughout the last three seasons. He missed three months this year also but appears to be back now.
Roberts went 1-for-3 with the grand slam and four RBIs plus a stolen base. Roberts now is batting .259 this season and keeps helping the Orioles (69-58).
"This is what we all play for," Roberts said. "You want to be in the race in August and September, and I haven't had a whole lot of opportunities to do that in my career. So to be able to contribute and be a part of it and just be one of the 25 guys is awesome."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he can see how much Roberts likes the situation he's in now.
"I know how much it means for him to be contributing to our club in the type of situation we're in," Showalter said. "I don't think anybody's enjoying playing competitive baseball in meaningful games (more) than Brian."
Johnson has struggled in recent weeks. He blew his last three save chances, but this was his major league-leading 40th save.
The right-hander threw eight strikes on nine pitches and retired the A's in order. It was his first save since Aug. 6 and pulled Baltimore past the Cleveland Indians (by one-half game) and left it two games behind Oakland (71-56) in the wild card race.
"I was able to command both sides of the plate," Johnson said. "There were a couple of games where it kind of looked like the ball was reacting too soon, so hitters had just a little (notice)."
Still, the Orioles needed to rally for three runs in the seventh to win. Adam Jones got the tiebreaking RBI groundout that gave Baltimore the lead for good and Nick Markakis added an RBI single.
The winning rally began when Nate McLouth walked against Jesse Chavez and stole second. McLouth went to third when Manny Machado singled off Ryan Cook (5-3) and scored the tying run when second baseman Eric Sogard made a fielding error on a Chris Davis grounder.
Machado moved to third and then scored when Jones hit a slow grounder to third. Josh Donaldson threw out Jones, but Machado came home to make it 8-7.
Matt Wieters then reached on an infield single, and Markakis' RBI single made it 9-7.
Francisco Rodriguez (2-0) got the win after retiring Oakland in order in the seventh.
The A's outhit the Orioles 12-7, led by Coco Crisp's 4-for-5 effort. Baltimore scored its other six runs in the fourth when Jones got his two-run homer and Roberts added the grand slam.
"There were a lot of things I liked today," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We just didn't pitch well. Offensively, we did some really good things. I was happy with everything today other than the result."
The A's took a quick 1-0 lead on a Brandon Moss RBI single in the first. Crisp and Moss added solo homers in third to make it 3-0.
The Orioles bounced back in the fourth, scoring six runs and knocking Oakland starter Dan Straily out of the game. Davis led off with a walk and scored on Jones' two-run shot.
Baltimore then loaded the bases with one out before Roberts crushed a 1-1 Straily fastball over the right-field fence for a grand slam and a 6-3 lead.
But Bud Norris immediately ran into trouble and couldn't make it out of the fifth as the A's scored four times. Lowrie (RBI double) and Donaldson (RBI single) cut the lead to 6-5.
Norris eventually loaded the bases with two outs and Troy Patton came on in relief. Sogard greeted the left-hander with a two-run single to give Oakland the lead back at 7-6.
NOTES: Roberts now has six career grand slams, and it was the team's fourth of 2013. ... Jones' home run in the third extended his hitting streak to seven games. ... The A's reacquired C Kurt Suzuki on Friday. They traded him to Washington late in 2012 after he played 5 1/2 seasons in Oakland. Injuries left Stephen Vogt as the team's lone catcher. ... RF Seth Smith returned to the lineup for the first time in six days after dealing with issues from an astigmatism. Smith underwent LASIK surgery.

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