Strong starting pitching has paced the Baltimore Orioles during their winning streak.
Jake Arrieta hopes to continue that run while trying to bounce back from his last outing and help the Orioles to a fifth straight victory Friday night against the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards.
At 12-7, Baltimore is surprisingly tied atop the AL East with Tampa Bay. The Orioles are in that spot thanks to some solid pitching of late.
After giving up six runs each in consecutive losses at Los Angeles last weekend, the Orioles allowed five total by salvaging the final game of that set then sweeping three from Toronto at home. Baltimore's starting rotation has yielded two earned runs and posted a 0.71 ERA during the four-game winning stretch.
Baltimore hopes Arrieta (1-1, 4.01 ERA) can rebound after he allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss at Los Angeles on Saturday.
Since giving up two hits in seven scoreless innings of a 4-2 victory over Minnesota in his season debut April 6, the right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA over his next three starts.
"Jake's one of the best pitchers we have and he has unbelievable stuff,' third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "If he can just harness it and really learn how to pinpoint his stuff, he's going to be really good."
Arrieta allowed four runs and four walks in six innings of an 8-1 loss July 1, 2010, in his only previous start versus Oakland.
Adam Jones hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning of Thursday's 5-2 win over the Blue Jays. Jones is batting .324 (11 for 34) with two homers while hitting safely in all nine home games this season.
He is 3 for 8 with a double against scheduled Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 3.38), who will try a sixth time for his first win. The right-hander has lasted at least six innings in four of his five starts, but he's averaging 1.97 runs of support.
McCarthy allowed two runs and 10 hits in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Cleveland on Saturday. Oakland's 59 runs scored are the fewest in club history through the first 20 games.
"(The run support) will come," McCarthy told the Athletics' official website. "It doesn't affect me when I'm out there. You know it's happening, but it's just go and throw. All I can focus on is getting my three outs, and making sure that they score as few runs as possible.
"At some point, it will come out and I'll be on the receiving end of some run support. It's going to happen."
He is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in five starts versus Baltimore.
Oakland (10-10) totaled 16 runs during a 3-3 homestand, but won the final two and showed some offensive life while scoring three times in the 14th inning to beat Chicago 5-4 on Wednesday. Former Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes tied the game with a two-run homer and Kila Ka'aihue won it with a bloop single.
The 26-year old Cespedes is batting .269, but has five home runs and 18 RBIs in 19 games.
Oakland could get a boost with the expected return of outfielder Coco Crisp, who missed seven of the last eight games with a head cold.
Baltimore outscored the A's 11-4 while sweeping a three-game home series in June.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved