The Baltimore Orioles shoot for their first four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics in nearly 26 years on Sunday when the two conclude their set from O.co Coliseum.
Baltimore has started its 11-game road trip in resounding fashion with three straight wins in Oakland. On Saturday, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hit back- to-back homers to highlight a four-run fourth inning to help the Orioles to a 7-3 win.
Nate McLouth went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI, while Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy added one RBI apiece for the Orioles, who haven't completed a four- game sweep in Oakland since turning the trick May 22-25, 1987.
"We have struggled here, but it is a good way to start a road trip, winning the first three games of the series, and hopefully we'll get the sweep (Sunday)," Markakis said.
Chris Tillman (1-1) gave up two runs on seven hits while striking out seven over six frames. Jim Johnson battled out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to earn his 10th save of the season.
Josh Donaldson went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI and Josh Reddick drove in a run for the A's, losers in eight of their last nine games.
A.J. Griffin (2-2) was tagged for four runs on five hits while striking out seven over seven frames to absorb the loss.
"Griffin pitched well pretty much every inning but one. When you give up four runs in one inning its going to cost you. it shouldn't, but we're not putting up runs right now," Melvin said.
Getting the call for the O's on Sunday will be righty Miguel Gonzalez, who is 2-1 with a 4.12 ERA. Gonzalez defeated the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, holding them to three runs and five hits in six innings.
This will be Gonzalez's first-ever start against Oakland, which will rely on veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon.
Colon improved to 3-0 on Tuesday in Boston, as he scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.42. He also fanned seven and walked a batter in the rain-shortened complete game win.
"That's the perfect guy to have on the mound in games like that," Melvin said, "a guy who's going to throw strikes, doesn't let the conditions affect him and keeps everybody on their toes because they know, potentially, the ball's going to be in play very quickly. "He was the right man for the job."
Colon has faced the Orioles 26 times (25 starts) and is 12-8 with a 3.10 ERA.
Oakland won five of its nine meetings with the Orioles last season and are 13-0-1 in the last 14 season series against the Orioles, dating back to the start of the 1999 season.