BALTIMORE | The Oakland Athletics needed a bit of luck to put Kevin Kouzmanoff in position to finish off an eighth-inning uprising.
Kouzmanoff made sure all that good fortune didn’t go to waste.
Kouzmanoff doubled in three runs to cap a five-run eighth, and the Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Thursday night for their second road series win.
Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen took a two-hitter and a 5-2 lead into the eighth. The right-hander retired 14 straight before allowing two straight singles to start the inning and end his night.
Jason Berken got one out and Mark Hendrickson (1-3) got another before Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI single. An infield hit by Kurt Suzuki off Hendrickson’s leg loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Jake Fox, whose bad-hop grounder handcuffed shortstop Cesar Izturis and was ruled a single.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley then brought in Cla Meredith, and Kouzmanoff promptly hit a liner into the gap in left-center.
“We got a couple of hits, we got a little break on the bad hop up the middle,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “But the key was a really big hit by Kouzmanoff.
“We’ve had some really big hits on the season, we’ve had some walkoff wins,” he added. “(But) when you’re down that far, that late, to put a gap like that and drive in three is probably the biggest hit of the year.”
Kouzmanoff said, “I got a good bat on the ball and drove it in the gap. It was a big hit. We were down, but we kept battling to come back.”
Gabe Gross homered for the Athletics, who won the final two games of the three-game series. Oakland’s only other series win on the road came against the Los Angeles Angels on April 9-11.
Michael Wuertz (2-0) got two outs in the seventh, Craig Breslow worked a perfect eighth and Andrew Bailey got three outs for his ninth save.
Miguel Tejada drove in two runs and Julio Lugo had three hits for the Orioles, who have lost nine of 12.
Afterward, Baltimore bemoaned the bounces that didn’t go its way.
“You certainly think you’ve seen a little bit of everything, but you hate to get a game taken away from a guy who’s pitched as well as Bergesen did and lose it under those conditions,” manager Dave Trembley said. “It’s really unfortunate that those things happened.”
Bergesen said, “There’s nothing that we can do. There was a couple of bad, bad breaks right there.”
As lightning bolts flashed around the stadium and thunder roared in the distance, the Orioles sandwiched two walks around a single by Adam Jones to load the bases with one out in the sixth. Lou Montanez was thrown out at first base after tapping a slow grounder to the right side, but his second RBI of the season gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead.
Tejada singled in a run in the seventh off Tyson Ross, and Wuertz issued a bases-loaded walk to Garrett Atkins to make it 5-2.
But the lead would not stand up.
Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. Half his six strikeouts came against Corey Patterson.
Oakland went up 2-0 in the second when Kouzmanoff walked and Gross hit a drive over the center-field wall to end his 52-game homerless drought.
The Orioles tied it in the third. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, Tejada got a run in with a grounder and Matt Wieters added an RBI single.
NOTES: Baltimore RF Nick Markakis missed the game to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy. … Atkins, who homered Wednesday, now has RBIs in successive games for the first time since April 7-8. … The Orioles played a third straight game without DH/1B Luke Scott (shoulder). He is expected to return to lineup Thursday in Toronto. … Jones extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games. … Oakland’s Cliff Pennington was omitted from the starting lineup for the first time this season, in part because he’s hitless in his last 15 at-bats.