For whom the Bell tolls (Matusz done, O’s lose 8-4)

Josh Bell has driven in two runs for the second straight night, with his RBI single in the fifth reducing Oakland’s lead to 4-3.

Robert Andino reached second base with one out after Josh Willingham dropped his fly ball for the Athletics’ 100th error of the season. Andino raced home when Bell followed with a single into center field.

The Orioles keep pecking away at that lead. They sliced it to 4-2 in the fourth on a two-out single by Adam Jones and a Vladimir Guerrero double.

Bell has made it a little more uncomfortable for Oakland, which is trying to deny the Orioles their first series win since June 24-26.

With Chris Davis on the disabled list, Bell could be in line for a nice, long audition at third base. Mark Reynolds could make most of the starts at first, where he seems quite comfortable with the mitt.

The Orioles need to decide whether Bell factors into their plans in 2012, whether it’s in a starting capacity or as a backup corner infielder. He’ll get a chance to make a lasting impression while Davis is gone - perhaps for the remainder of the season.

Update: Left-hander Brian Matusz settled down and gave the Orioles 6 2/3 innings tonight in his first start since June 30.

Matusz allowed one run after the second and none after the third while he was on the mound. Troy Patton replaced him and let two inherited runners score with two outs in the seventh.

Matusz was charged with six runs and eight hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. All three walks came within the first two innings.

The last two hits off Matusz came with two outs in the seventh. Manager Buck Showalter brought in Patton, who gave up Coco Crisp’s two-run double.

Matusz threw 109 pitches, 67 for strikes. His line looked a lot better before the back-to-back singles and the Crisp double, but he turned in his longest outing of the season.

Times and roles sure have changed for the Orioles’ bullpen, with Patton pitching the seventh and Chris Jakubauskas also warming up.

Final update: Vladimir Guerrero doubled again in the ninth and crossed the plate with two outs on Robert Andino’s infield hit to complete the scoring in the Orioles’ 8-4 loss.

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