Streaking into Oakland

Give me the choice between a cross-country flight and being covered in honey and red ants, and I'll ask which one provides the most leg room.

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If the Orioles must travel to Oakland, and the schedule demands it, at least they're riding a five-game winning streak.

It may not come with those little bags of gourmet pretzels like you get on Southwest, and yesterday's 6-5, 12-inning victory wasn't exactly a smooth ride, but it's the first time this season that the Orioles have boarded one. It's a nice change from the usual charter.

They've lost eight in a row, but they hadn't won five in a row until Vladimir Guerrero sent that bouncer up the middle in the 12th, and Royals second baseman Chris Getz waved at it like a parent watching his kid board the bus for school.

I won't trash the city of Oakland because I've only been there a few times and it's home to a lot of people, but just know that most sportswriters stay in San Francisco and take the BART - which either stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit or Ban All Re-Tweeting. (Most of today's sportswriters couldn't function without the latter.)

Manager Buck Showalter asked after yesterday's game whether anyone in the media gathering wanted to go with him to Oakland. Spotting one volunteer, he said, "Really?"

"That's false hustle," he said. "You don't really want to go."

Showalter was joking - sort of. The Orioles should have bigger reservations (and not at the team hotel.) They're 4-17 against the A's over the last three seasons, including 1-9 in Oakland.

Moving above .500 will be a challenge.

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez starts for the hosts, which makes the lineup a little easier for Showalter to fill out. Nolan Reimold homered twice yesterday and went 4-for-4 with four RBIs. How could he sit?

Well, the Orioles need a leadoff hitter. Says so in the rules. Two guys can't bat second. And Showalter's choices are Felix Pie and Robert Andino.

I can hear fans screaming for Reimold to play every day. If he does, Andino would have to do the same, leaving Ryan Adams welded to the bench.

Showalter seems reluctant to bat anyone else first, saying he prefers J.J. Hardy lower in the order.

It's an interesting situation. If I'm reading it correctly, the more Reimold plays, the more Andino plays. The less Pie plays, the less Adams plays.

It might not be that cut and dried, but that's how it looks on the surface.

Oakland starts another left-hander, Josh Outman, tomorrow night, which brings two immediate thoughts: Reimold will probably get another start in left field, and Outman is a really good name for a pitcher. Beats the heck out of Balfour.

Right-hander Guillermo Moscoso takes the ball for the A's in Sunday afternoon's finale, so we'll see whether Pie returns to left field and whether Showalter is leaning toward going with a straight platoon.

Should Showalter base his lineup decisions in this series, and this West Coast trip, on one spectacular game from Reimold? Should he be married to the Pie/Andino leadoff couple, or should he stray and give someone else a shot, which would provide the flexibility to start Reimold and Adams together?

Should a team that's riding a five-game winning streak to Oakland expect an in-flight movie and ample leg room?

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