BALTIMORE (AP) - The Oakland Athletics won't lose too many games in which Bartolo Colon takes a shutout into the ninth inning.
More often than not, the A's will win when Grant Balfour needs to get only two outs to preserve a two-run lead.
Unfortunately for Oakland, neither Colon nor Balfour could prevent the Baltimore Orioles from pulling out a 5-2 victory Sunday.
Over the first eight innings, Colon allowed four hits and didn't allow a runner past second base. That only made what happened next that much more difficult to swallow.
After J.J. Hardy led off with an infield hit and Nick Markakis struck out, Adam Jones hit a chopper down the third-base line that Colon collected before throwing wildly to first. The single and error put runners at second and third and ended Colon's afternoon.
``In fairness to Bartolo, he pitched great,' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ``Even in the last inning he gives up a ground ball and then a swinging bunt. ... It certainly wasn't his fault.'
Balfour (0-1) entered and promptly gave up a two-run double to left by Matt Wieters that bounced off the wall in left-center.
``It wasn't like I left it up, but I left it up enough to get a good swing on it,' Balfour said.
After Chris Davis received an intentional walk, Wilson Betemit drove a 3-1 pitch to right-center that bounced off the top of the wall - a home run, according to the ground rules at Camden Yards.
Game over. Oakland was 8-0 when scoring first and 10-0 when leading after eight innings, numbers that meant very little after this bitter defeat.
``It just didn't work out,' Melvin said. ``We get a great pitched game. We felt pretty good. We liked the guy who's on the mound.
``Some games just don't work out for whatever reason, and today's the day. We just have to move past it. It can't be something you dwell on.'
Balfour, after his second blown save of the season, said, ``I'm going to have my days and some days I'm not. Today is a day I have to move on from.'
Colon had not given up a run on the road through three starts and 23 innings before the ninth.
Pedro Strop (3-1) got three outs for the Orioles, who moved six games over .500 (14-8) for the first time since July 20, 2005.
``It beats the alternative,' said manager Buck Showalter, whose 999th career victory was one to savor. ``It's like the right side of the earth. I just like seeing a lot of our guys getting a return for what they've been putting into it from a team standpoint.'
It was the Orioles' second win this season when trailing after eight innings, matching their total all of last season.
Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter matched Colon for five innings, allowing only one runner to pass first base, before faltering in the sixth. The right-hander gave up two runs and seven hits over seven innings.
In the sixth, after Hunter retired the first two batters, left-handed hitter Josh Reddick slapped a high fastball to left for a single and Yoenis Cespedes followed with an RBI double.
Seth Smith led off the seventh with his second home run, a shot to center on a 1-0 pitch. It was the eighth homer yielded by Hunter in five starts. Markakis opened the bottom half with a double but did not advance.
The Orioles got a hit in each of the first three innings, but got only one runner to second base. Oakland had two on with two outs in the third before Reddick grounded out.
Kurt Suzuki began the A's fifth inning with a drive to deep left field. Nolan Reimold extended his glove over the 7-foot wall and latched onto the ball to rob the catcher of a home run.
NOTES: Reimold doubled in the first inning to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington snapped a 0-for-16 skid with a third-inning single. ... RHP Jason Hammel (3-0, 1.73) starts for Baltimore on Monday night against the Yankees. ... The A's continue their road trip in Boston on Monday, hopeful of putting this loss behind them. ``It stinks today but you get up tomorrow and go to the ballpark and try to win the game,' Smith said. ... Baltimore has won 57 straight when allowing two or fewer runs.
The Associated Press News Service
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