OAKLAND, Calif. -- Chris Davis returned from a night off and manager Buck Showalter thought that would help the slugging first baseman start hitting again.
While Davis suffered through another hitless game at the plate, it was his error on a pop foul that prolonged Chad Pinder’s time at-bat in the eighth inning that helped lead to a painful Orioles’ defeat.
Davis wasn’t even the main culprit. Right-hander Brad Brach, who has spent four seasons being a most reliable part of the bullpen, allowed the tying and winning runs.
Instead of Ubaldo Jimenez taking the bows for striking out 11 batters in 5 1/3 innings, the right-hander got a no decision, and the vaunted bullpen lost a crucial game.
Brach came on for the eighth with a 4-3 lead, and allowed the first three hitters to reach. Jed Lowrie’s double tied the score, and after Pinder was given a second chance, he hit a sacrifice fly to right field, and the Orioles lost 5-4 to the Oakland Athletics before 14,330 at Oakland Coliseum Aug. 11.
"There's a lot more to the game than that, but I know everyone's focus is there," manager Buck Showalter said. "Brad has been great for us, but tonight just wasn't his night."
Brach, who is always available after a difficult loss, watched his team fall to 57-59. They’ve lost three of the first five games of their 10-game West Coast trip.
"Any time, especially in August, when you see the standings the way they are, you see some teams have lost, and you lose a game like that, it hurts," Brach said. "Unfortunately, I just couldn’t help the team, and I have to be ready to go next time."
The Orioles had the lead as Jimenez recorded strikeouts on eight of his first nine outs. The 11 strikeouts were the most the right-hander has had in his four-year Orioles career.
"I mean I wish I could have done more and get deeper in the game. But I did what I can," Jimenez said.
"I mean it is always good to get strikeouts. On the other hand, it makes you throw a lot of pitches. I think I prefer to get deeper in the game than strike so many guys out."
Jimenez was hit on the right leg on a shot by Pinder in the sixth, and he left the game immediately. He doesn’t believe the injury is a serious one.
Batting seventh for the first time since Aug. 29, 2014, Davis was hitless in three at-bats with a walk as his average fell to .210. Davis is 2-for-28, and says his position in the batting order is irrelevant.
"Usually no. I’d rather not be batting ninth. If it’s a more productive spot for me in the lineup, then I’m all for it," Davis said. "I just want to win baseball games and be productive. Whether that means batting in the nine-hole, batting in the one-hole, the 15th hole, it doesn’t really matter."
Though Showalter has little patience with questions about the batting order, he made it a point to drop both designated hitter Mark Trumbo to sixth on Aug. 10, and Davis to seventh.
"I like the idea of having some threats all the way through the lineup. We’ve got some guys that have down well towards the top and some guys that have done well towards the bottom," Showalter said.
"We’re going to need him. He’s capable of doing really good things for us."
The Orioles missed a chance to reach .500 for the eighth time this season.
Showalter thought the foul pop was a difficult one.
"Did they score that an error? That's not an error," Showalter said. "He could have scored if he'd have caught it. [Second baseman Jonathan Schoop] was about the only guy who could have caught that ball, and he couldn't get to it because of where we were playing him in the infield. It actually worked out better at the time, because he would have scored on it.”
NOTES: Shortstop Tim Beckham’s first inning single gave him an 11-game hitting streak with the Orioles. He had his third straight multi-hit game, and his eighth with the team. Only David Newhan (15 games in 2004) and Javy Lopez (13 games in 2004) have longer hitting streaks to begin their Orioles careers. … Right-hander Dylan Bundy (11-8, 4.15) faces left-hander Sean Manaea (8-6, 4.15) on Aug. 12. Game time is 9:05 p.m.