- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BALTIMORE | On a sweltering night at Camden Yards, rookie Gio Gonzalez had more trouble with the heat than with the Baltimore Orioles.

Gonzalez took a five-hit shutout into the seventh inning, Mark Ellis had a career-high five hits and four RBI and the Oakland Athletics beat Baltimore 9-1 on Monday night to extend their winning streak against the Orioles to nine games.

The 23-year-old Gonzalez struck out five and allowed seven hits in six-plus innings, but his performance wasn’t as easy at it looked.

“I was sitting in the tunnel the whole time, trying to get away from that heat. It was like fighting fireballs,” the left-hander said. “I was throwing water on my face, ammonia towels, trying to cool down a little bit.”

The pitcher’s between-innings ritual wore on Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki, who, according to Gonzalez, said, “I’m tired of coming out here. Relax.”

After giving up two hits to start the seventh, Gonzalez (4-2) was pulled following a rain delay of 52 minutes. When play resumed, Craig Breslow got three straight outs to strand both runners in scoring position.

Gonzalez blanked Texas over 6 2/3 innings in his last start and has won four straight decisions over a seven-game stretch.

“Unless I really shut them out, we didn’t have much of a shot anyhow,” Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie said. “But unfortunately, I did not pitch well.”

Guthrie (7-12) allowed five runs and a season-high 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander avoided adding to his AL-high total of 27 homers allowed, but he took over the league lead in losses.

Guthrie lamented his inability to put away batters after getting two strikes in the count, which contributed heavily to his 107-pitch count.

“They fouled them off, fouled them off, then ended up with a base hit,” he said. “It was their fault. They didn’t put it in play for me tonight, which was unfortunate because they swung at a lot of pitches. Up, down, out, in. I don’t know what else I could do.”

The Athletics are 4-0 against Baltimore this season, and their nine-game run against the Orioles is the longest in Oakland history. The A’s are 64-27 (.703) vs. Baltimore since the start of the 1999 season - the best winning percentage by any AL team against the Orioles in that span.

Luke Scott hit his 19th home run in the ninth inning to ruin Oakland’s shutout bid, but the Orioles went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and fell to 6-18 since the All-Star break.

“It seems like when we do hit the ball hard, we hit it right at somebody,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “And it seems like when we get opportunities to make productive outs and drive a run in, we don’t.”

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