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Roberts slam lifts Os past skidding As
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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics lost a game they normally win.

Coco Crisp homered, had four hits and scored three runs as part of a solid offensive showing by the Athletics, who twice gave away leads to the Baltimore Orioles in a 9-7 defeat Friday night.

Brian Roberts hit a grand slam and Adam Jones homered and drove in three runs for the Orioles, who rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 7-6.

“There were a lot of things I liked today. We just didn’t pitch well,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Offensively, we did some really good things. I thought the effort level, energy was really good today. I was happy with everything today other than the result.”

A’s starter Dan Straily allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings. Although he walked off the mound with the A’s trailing 6-3, the right-hander avoided losing his sixth straight decision when Oakland took the lead with a four-run fifth.

Crisp hit his 12th home run and tied a career high for hits. It was his eighth game of the season with at least three hits.

“Coco is our table setter,” Melvin said. “When Coco plays well we seem to fall in behind him. We put up runs like that, we usually win those games.”

The victory moved the Orioles past Cleveland into third place in the wild-card hunt. Tampa Bay is on top and Baltimore now stands two games behind Oakland. The top two teams make the playoffs.

The A’s have lost four of six and are 15-17 since the All-Star break.

“We’re going to go out there and play as hard as we can, and if we end up making it to the playoffs that would be fantastic,” Crisp said. “If not, we knew we gave it our best shot and that’s what everyone in here is doing right now.”

Making his fifth start for Baltimore since coming in a trade with Houston, Bud Norris yielded seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. In four appearances against Oakland this season, he’s 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA.

“This is about the team battling back,” Norris said. “They picked me up. To win that one, the first game of the series, is huge.”

In the Baltimore seventh, Jesse Chavez walked Nate McLouth and was replaced by Ryan Cook (5-3). A single by Manny Machado put runners at the corners, and McLouth scored when second baseman Eric Sogard misplayed a grounder by Chris Davis. Jones followed with a run-scoring groundout and Nick Markakis capped the uprising with an RBI single.

Francisco Rodriguez (2-0) got the win and Jim Johnson, the fourth Baltimore reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his 40th save. He had blown his previous three attempts.

“You could see the look in his eye,” Roberts said. “I thought tonight he came out really aggressive. He threw the ball incredible. We all looked at each other and were like, ‘Whoa. This is almost a different guy.’”

The victory assured the Orioles their first season series win over Oakland since 1998. They’ve won four of five with two to play.

Crisp led off the fifth with a single and scored on a double by Jed Lowrie, who came home on a single by Josh Donaldson. Following a double play, two walks and a single loaded the bases and ended Norris’ night. Troy Patton then gave up a two-run single to Sogard.

Oakland got a first-inning run when Crisp led off with a single and scored on a two-out single by Brandon Moss.

Crisp and Moss hit solo shots to right field in the third, even though Norris struck out the side.

At that point, the A’s were sailing. Then came the Baltimore fourth inning.

Davis drew a walk and Jones followed with an opposite-field drive to right. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Roberts, who hit a high fly to right that plopped onto the flag court beyond the 25-foot scoreboard for his sixth career grand slam, the first since 2009.