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TOR@BAL: Tillman fans three over 6 2/3 quality frames

With their 3-0 victory on Friday night, the Orioles have won consecutive games in Oakland for the first time since Aug. 15-17, 2005.

That's just how things are going for the A's right now.

Oakland has dropped three games in a row and seven of eight, and is 4-9 since putting together a nine-game winning streak from April 3-12. The club will try to turn things back around on Saturday afternoon against the surging Orioles, who have taken seven of their past nine.

"If you reflect and you think about it, you go through tough stretches during the season, and this is one of those times," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Friday's game. "We're not playing our best baseball right now. There are some facets we're not hitting on, but my expectations are that we will come out of this thing.

"You have to stay positive each day and expect to win and put the losses behind you. It's no fun when you've lost six of seven, but you have to put that aside and play your best baseball and move on from what's been a tough stretch for us here recently."

A big problem for Oakland has been starting pitching. Before Tommy Milone's stellar outing on Friday, A's starters had a 6.12 ERA and .306 opponents' average over their previous 16 games.

One reason for those numbers is A.J. Griffin, who will take the ball on Saturday opposite Baltimore's Chris Tillman. Griffin (2-1, 4.50 ERA) was solid over his first three times out but surrendered a career-high seven earned runs -- and nine runs total -- in four innings on Monday at Boston.

"I felt like I was making my pitches, and they were just being aggressive," Griffin said. "I was trying to get ahead and they were putting good swings on them. They had good approaches and stayed on the ball all night."

Tillman (0-1, 5.23 ERA) has seen his season go in the opposite direction. Tillman posted a 7.07 ERA in his first three outings, then held the Blue Jays to one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings on Monday.

"I was able to get ahead with my pitches early, and my secondary stuff was there for me," Tillman said. "I was able to pound the strike zone early and kind of make the pitches when I needed to."

Orioles: Dealing with the Coliseum
Before this series began, the Orioles had lost 16 of their last 19 games in Oakland going back to May 5, 2008. They were 9-29 there since July 11, 2003, including 1-2 last season.

"First of all, they have a good club and good players," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a different venue than most. We change three or four things here when we come here. We also do that at Fenway and Yankees Stadium. It depends on the dimensions of the diamond, the foul ground and the time of day. The West Coast parks play different at night."

• Over his last six games, outfielder Nate McLouth is 8-for-19 (.421) with six walks, four stolen bases and four RBIs.

A's: Lowrie to show versatility
• Jed Lowrie drew his first start of the season at second base on Friday after playing exclusively shortstop thus far in 2013. He had not started at the position since 2010 but likely will see more time there going forward.

Lowrie was at second on Friday because Adam Rosales, just off the disabled list, is more comfortable at shortstop. Oakland acquired Lowrie in the offseason with the idea of moving him around the infield. While the 29-year-old has spent the majority of his career at shortstop, he also has started 27 games at second and 52 at third, while appearing in 11 games at first.

• After going a combined 0-for-7 out of the second and third spots in the lineup on Friday, outfielders Chris Young and Josh Reddick are hitting .158 and .159, respectively.

Worth noting
• Griffin has never faced the Orioles, while Tillman has pitched against the A's only once, giving up one earned run in 4 2/3 innings in a 2011 game at Oakland.

• Griffin is 4-0 with a 3.17 ERA in 10 career home starts. Comments