Kimbrel blows second straight save as Athletics win rubber game 7-6 over Orioles

BALTIMORE (AP) — Closer Craig Kimbrel blew his second save in as many opportunities and departed with back tightness on Sunday as the Oakland Athletics rallied to a 7-6, series-deciding victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

“I mean I don’t know how long, what the time table is with Craig, or if any at all,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said postgame of the nine-time All-Star. “We’ll see. I think we’ve been playing pretty good baseball, we’ve just had a couple unfortunate kind of endings this series.”

Two nights after he threw only eight of 24 pitches for strikes, Kimbrel (3-1) threw six straight balls to open his outing, the fifth of which prompted the first visit from Hyde and team medical staff.

“The way he was walking around didn’t look right,” Hyde said of what prompted that talk.

Kimbrel eventually convinced Hyde to let him continue the at-bat against Kyle McCann, who drove Kimbrel’s 3-2 offering into the seats next to the out-of-town scoreboard in right center.

Kimbrel then exited after a second visit including medical staff and Dillon Tate completed the inning for an Orioles team that is now 2-4 in one-run games.

“Honestly, I think we trust our pitching staff,” said Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman. “There’s going to be ups and downs. I don’t think anyone’s worried.”

Seth Brown hit his second homer and Brent Rooker singled in two runs off O’s starter Albert Suarez in Oakland’s highest-scoring showing during a 10-game road trip.

Tyler Nevin connected off Danny Coulombe in the seventh to close Oakland’s deficit to one run, before McCann's shot helped the A's close their trip with four wins.

Kyle Muller retired seven of eight batters he faced in relief, and Austin Adams and T.J. MacFarland (1-0) bridged the gap to Lucas Erceg, who threw a scoreless ninth for his first career save.

“Kyle's been throwing the ball really well," said A's manager Mark Kotsay. “And without that type of performance from Kyle today, we wouldn't have had that type of opportunity.”

Ryan Mountcastle and Rutschman each connected for their fourth home runs for the Orioles. Ramon Urias also homered to bring Baltimore’s league-leading team total to 44 on the season and seven during the three-game set.

All six Orioles runs came off A’s starter Paul Blackburn, who worked only four innings in his shortest outing of the season.

TRAINERS ROOM

Orioles: 3B Jordan Westburg was unavailable Sunday due to illness, Hyde said.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Begin a 10-game home stand against Pittsburgh on Monday when RHP Joe Boyle (1-4, 7.06 ERA) tries to go deeper than his last outing, a three-inning loss at the Yankees.

Orioles: Begin a four-game series against the Yankees on Monday with RHP Grayson Rodriguez (3-1, 4.45) trying to rebound from his roughest outing of 2024, a seven-run, 4 1/3-inning loss at the Angels.

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