Luzardo struggles, defense falters as Orioles top A’s again 8-4

BY SEAN WATKINS
The Baltimore Orioles beat the A’s 8-4 on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum for their second straight win against Oakland as the O’s lineup abused Jesus Luzardo in the third, racking up six runs off four hits while the Athletics bats struggled early on to get anything going against Matt Harvey.

After Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in top of the third, Austin Hays scorched a grounder between the third baseman and shortstop to bring in the first two runs for the Orioles. Matt Chapman received the cut off throw and overthrew Elvis Andrus at third base which scored another run, giving the O’s a 3-0 lead. Trey Mancini then hit a fly ball to shallow center which Andrus got his glove on it but was unable to catch on a difficult play, bringing in another run for the Orioles.

Mark Canha made an outstanding play later in the inning, making a full stretch to snag an out at the warning track. The play saved a run but the runner on third was able to tag up and score. That extra run scored anyways the following at-bat off a wild pitch from Luzardo, as Baltimore gained a compelling 6-0 lead.

Luzardo (1-3, 5.79) exited the game after the third inning, finishing with only one strikeout and allowing five hits and six runs, three of them earned. Luzardo threw 64 pitches including two wild pitches and never seemed to find his groove as Baltimore took advantage.

After the game, Luzardo spoke about his performance. “I beat myself today, I got to give them credit. They put the bat on the ball, they found some holes, but at the end of the day I feel like I put myself in a position to lose for the most part,” Luzardo said.

Manager Bob Melvin weighed in on his thoughts about Luzardo’s struggles and his confidence in him moving forward. “It may be at times he tries to overthrow in counts when he’s behind. It’s though to pitch behind, he has the stuff to do it. I think that’s been the one bug for him a little bit is centering some fastballs in counts where some guys that are looking for it,” said Melvin. “He’s a terrific talent, we expect big things out of him.”

Harvey (3-1, 4.06) looked outstanding through his first five innings, limiting the A’s offense to just two hits in that span without scoring any runs. He exited the game after 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two runs.

The Orioles offense continued their damage in the top of the sixth, DJ Stewart smashed a two-run homer to deep right field off J.B. Wendelken following a single from Freddy Galvis, handing Baltimore a commanding 8-0 lead.

Oakland finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Seth Brown hit an RBI double into the right field corner that scored Chapman all the way from first, ending the day for Harvey. Tony Kemp then followed up with an RBI single to bring home Brown, cutting into the deficit to make it an 8-2 game.

Canha and Ramon Laureano each launched solo home runs late in the game in an effort to close the gap but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early flurry from the Orioles.

Melvin discussed the loss while emphasizing the third inning. “It was an ugly inning, it’s not typical of how we play. Over the last few years, we’ve been a really good defensive team and we did not show it that inning. It happens from time to time; doesn’t mean you feel good about it.”

Oakland will conclude their three-game series at home against Baltimore Sunday afternoon at 1:07PM. Sean Manaea (3-1, 2.83) is scheduled to make his sixth start of the season to face off against Bruce Zimmermann (1-3, 5.33) as the A’s continue their effort to hold on to the top spot in their division.

GAME NOTES:

The Athletics finished the month of April with a 16-11 record, marking their best record for the month since 2014 when they went 18-9.

Mark Canha entered the game leading the American League with 24 runs scored, which also tied Coco Crisp for the A’s record for most runs scored in the month of April.

Matt Olson is currently out of the lineup after a ball he hit during batting practice ricocheted off the pitcher’s protective screen and hit him in the eye. He remains day-to-day.

Rickey Henderson set the All-Time MLB stolen base record 30 years ago today, passing Lou Brock with his 939th career theft in a game at the Coliseum against the Yankees.

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