So close to their first four-game sweep at Oakland since May 22-25, 1987.
The Orioles lost a 5-0 lead after five innings and a two-run lead in the last of the ninth today, and fell 9-8 in 10 innings to Oakland.
After Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer with one out in the the last of the ninth off Brian Matusz to tie it 8-8, the Orioles defense came unglued as they lost it an inning later.
Eric Sogard led off the 10th with a single off Pedro Strop and advanced to second on a bunt when Strop threw wildly to second base. Then Coco Crisp tried to advance both runners with a bunt toward third and Manny Machado tried to get the lead out. But his wild throw went past J.J. Hardy covering third and the winning run scored to end the game and hand the Orioles a bitter loss.
Earlier, Chris Davis hit an impressive homer to put the Orioles up 7-6 in the eighth. Down 0-2 in the count against left-hander Sean Doolittle, Davis got a curveball on the outside corner and flicked the bat at it. It went a long way - over the fence in right-center for his ninth homer of the year.
Davis, who had three RBIs, now has hit 16 homers in his last 32 regular season games and has hit 41 over his past 149 games since last April 25.
Meanwhile, Miguel Gonzalez sailed into the last of the sixth with a two-hitter and 5-0 lead, but suddenly couldn't get anyone out, as Oakland scored four to pull within a run and knock him out of the game. Gonzalez allowed the four runs over 5 1/3 innings, but O's starters pitched to an ERA of 2.13 in this series.
The Orioles offense produced 28 runs and a team average of .315 in the series and several players had big days today in the loss.
Nate McLouth went 4-for-5 with a double and four runs scored, matching his career high for hits. Over his past nine games, McLouth is 15-for-29 (.517) and he has now reached base in 22 of his last 36 plate appearances. Pretty amazing run he is on, to say the least. McLouth began today fifth in the American League with a .434 OBP and then added four hits to that.
Machado went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, and Adam Jones had two hits and two RBIs. It Jones' sixth multi-RBI game.
But the O's bullpen could not make the late 8-6 lead stand up as the Orioles came up short in claiming their first five-game win streak at Oakland since May 13-Aug. 16, 1996.
The Orioles fall to 15-10 with the loss, just their third in the last 11 games, and now the road trip heads to Seattle.