The Baltimore Orioles head into Sunday's game with a chance to sweep the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics, a feat that seemed unlikely at the series' outset considering Oakland took two of three games against the Orioles in Baltimore last weekend.
Fresh off an 8-4 win on Saturday afternoon, the Orioles have taken the first two games of their series against the A's. It has been a difficult stretch for Oakland, which has lost five of its past seven games after winning 13 in a row.
But the buzz is now about Baltimore, which after winning the final game of their series against the New York Yankees has won three straight games.
"I just want to see us continue to get better, try to win every series we can," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said after the game, according to MLB.com. "I like the way we are competitive against good clubs and playing well."
In the series finale, the Athletics will turn to left-hander Sean Manaea (3-1, 2.83 ERA), who has won three straight starts. Manaea allowed a run on four hits to go along with six strikeouts over five innings in a win against Tampa Bay in his last start.
For the Orioles, left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (1-3, 5.33) is hoping to snap his three-start losing streak. Zimmermann gave up four runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings against the New York Yankees in his most recent start.
The A's are in need of a big performance from Manaea, having scored just six runs in this series. On Saturday, they trailed 8-0 before scoring in the sixth inning.
The Orioles put their first three men on in the third inning against A's starter Jesus Luzardo (1-3) on an error, a hit and a walk. Austin Hays drove in the first run of the game with a single, and the other two runners scored on a throwing error on the play.
Trey Mancini's single brought in Hays to make it 4-0, and was followed by Maikel Franco's single to left field. Ryan Mountcastle's sacrifice fly made it 5-0 and allowed Franco to take third, from where he scored on Luzardo's wild pitch.
DJ Stewart's two-run home run made it 8-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
The A's couldn't muster much against Orioles starter Matt Harvey (3-1), who allowed two runs on four hits, with three walks and one strikeout in 5 2/3 innings.
"That was a veteran performance," Hyde of Harvey's performance. "He is so competitive and I love how our guys feed off that."
In addition to a strong effort on Sunday from Manaea, the Athletics need to help themselves. Self-inflicted errors, such as a throwing error by third baseman Matt Chapman that opened the floodgates in Saturday's six-run third inning, are hurting Oakland.
Oakland had two errors in the loss.
"It was an ugly inning," A's manager Bob Melvin said, per MLB.com.
"Over the last few years, we've been a really good defensive team. We did not show it that inning. It happens from time to time. But it doesn't mean we feel good about it."
--Field Level Media