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  Saturday, Apr. 22 4:05pm ET
Bordick steers Orioles' win streak to six

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Long known for his slick fielding at shortstop, Mike Bordick has also developed into an offensive force.

The Orioles' No. 9 hitter, Bordick hit a two-run homer and boosted his league-leading RBI total to 24 Saturday as Baltimore won its sixth straight, 4-3 over the Oakland Athletics.

Mike Bordick
With five homers and a league-high 24 RBI, Mike Bordick can no longer be taken lightly at the plate.
"The key to that is Will Clark getting on base 60 percent of the time and Charles Johnson is swinging the bat well right now," Bordick said. "I've gotten a lot of opportunities and I've been fortunate to take advantage of that. It's a lot of guys doing consistent things."

Bordick also credited instruction from Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley for his offensive surge.

"I got something going first with Rick Downs, and when Terry Crowley came, I've been with him for three years and I've continued to develop as a hitter," Bordick said. "It's beneficial to have a hitting coach stay with a team for an extended amount of time. That helps everybody."

Jose Mercedes (2-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, helping the Orioles win a series for the fifth time in six tries this season.

Baltimore, which beat Oakland 11-9 in Friday night's opener, didn't win its first series last season until taking two of three from Minnesota last April 30-May 2.

Bordick, a former member of the A's who hit a career-high 13 home runs in 1998, connected for his fifth of the season. Cal Ripken Jr. singled ahead of Bordick's homer, a second-inning drive off Gil Heredia (1-2).

"Mike swings the bat well, he knows how to play the game and as he's gained experience he's improved himself offensively," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said.

Calvin Maduro relieved with two on in the sixth and pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings.

Jason Giambi hit a one-out sacrifice fly off Mike Timlin in the ninth, pulling Oakland within a run. Olmedo Saenz then loaded the bases with an infield single, Buddy Groom relieved and Matt Stairs hit a game-ending foulout to Ripken at third. Groom, also a former Oakland player, got his second save.

"What can I say? He got me out," said Stairs, who fell to 1-for-18 against left-handers this season. "It was a tough game. I made an error that cost us a run and then I made the last out, so I'll be the goat today."

It was the second time in as many games an A's rally fell short.

"We're battling back but it doesn't mean nothing when you leave three guys on base and you lose," Stairs said. "Right now, we're just in a little funk at home."

Heredia allowed four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four but also had uncharacteristic control problems, walking four.

It was just the fourth time in his career he has walked more than three -- but he's done it twice already this year. He also walked four in his first start this season.

Oakland has lost five straight home games -- matching its longest home skid last year, when the A's had the AL's best home record (52-29). This year, Oakland is 3-8 at home.

Harold Baines' RBI double in the third inning put Baltimore up 3-0, and after Giambi singled home a run for Oakland in the bottom of the third, the Orioles benefited from a throwing error by Stairs in right to go back up 4-1 in the fifth.

Pinch-hitter Ben Grieve's RBI single in the sixth pulled Oakland within two and chased Mercedes. Maduro escaped the jam by fanning pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez.

Game notes
The Orioles have scored first in 12 of their 16 games, going (9-3). They have outscored the opposition a combined 36-16 in the first two innings. ... Baltimore RHP Jason Johnson, recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, is to make his first start of the season Sunday night against Oakland rookie Mark Mulder, who is making his second big league appearance after winning his debut at Cleveland on Tuesday. ... Heredia has walked 13 batters in his first four starts, an average of 4.68 per nine innings. He walked a league-low average of 1.53 last season. ... Baines needs one hit to reach 2,800 for his career. Ripken, with 3,006 hits, needs one to tie Al Kaline for 22nd on the career list.


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