Clevenger, Tillman help Orioles sweep away Athletics
BALTIMORE — With catcher Matt Wieters out with an injury, Steve Clevenger is taking full advantage of his opportunity with the Baltimore Orioles.
Clevenger hit a three-run homer, Chris Tillman won his seventh straight decision and Baltimore completed a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 4-2 victory Monday night.
Clevenger, who was called up Friday from Triple-A Norfolk, got his first homer since June 29, 2012. He also had a career-high four hits in Baltimore's 18-2 victory Sunday.
"It feels great, especially this time of year," Clevenger said. "Right now, we're in the playoff race. Anything I can do to help the team. We're on a good streak right now. We have to keep it going in the next series."
Tillman (9-7) allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts over seven innings. He has not lost since May 31.
"We need to get on a run here and play good baseball like we have been," Tillman said. "We're swinging the bats well. I feel like right now as long as our starters are giving the team a chance to win and get deep into the game, set up the bullpen how it needs to be set up, I think we will be ready."
Oakland went winless on its seven-game East Coast road trip.
Darren O'Day had a perfect eighth and Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
Oakland left-hander Sonny Gray (12-5), who was scratched from his previous start with back spasms, allowed four runs (one earned) on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
"I could definitely tell that I hadn't been on the mound in a while," Gray said. "But I felt fine."
Danny Valencia provided the A's with a 1-0 lead when he homered to lead off the second. Valencia has a hit in nine of 10 games since being claimed off waivers Aug. 3.
The A's entered the game leading the majors with 96 errors. Another miscue helped the Orioles take the lead in the fo urth when a grounder by Chris Davis rolled through second baseman Eric Sogard's legs. Jonathan Schoop followed with a single and then Clevenger connected for the three-run shot.
"When you have your ace on the mound, you want to play clean defensively," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When you are not scoring many runs, you want to give yourself a chance because you know when he's on the mound, runs are going to be tough to come by."
In the fifth, Sam Fuld was called out for running out of the baseline. He and Melvin were then ejected by home plate umpire Brian Knight for arguing the call.
The A's pulled to within 3-2 on a homer by Mark Canha in the sixth. Caleb Joseph responded with a two-out, RBI double for the Orioles, who got their first four-game sweep of the A's since 1987.
Joseph leads the way: The Orioles improved to 38-5 when Joseph gets at least one RBI. He is batting .342 with five doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in August.
Trainer's room: Wieters has missed five straight games with a strained right hamstring, but he ran the bases Monday and could be available Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said.
On deck: Kevin Gausman (2-4, 4.48 ERA) takes the mound in the series opener against the Mets. Gausman allowed three runs over seven innings with a career-high eight strikeouts in his last outing against Seattle. That performance was overshadowed by the Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma, who threw his first career no-hitter.