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CLE@OAK: McCarthy hurls seven frames of two-run ball

The A's offense is in need of a jump-start. Badly.

And they got one on Wednesday in the 14th inning, plating three to rally from a two-run deficit and walk off with a win over the White Sox. On Friday, the A's open a nine-game AL East swing Friday against Baltimore, which has won four in a row and is tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East.

Despite that dramatic outburst, the A's scored just 16 runs in their most recent six-game homestand, and 59 on the season. That is the fewest runs scored by the team in the first 20 games, eclipsing the previous record of 64 (1968, 1970).

"We're better than that offensively," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "And as a group, we have to take it personally and intensify our focus a little bit, and really get going a bit earlier in games. We have to try to put the pressure on the other team before they put it on us, and we haven't been real good about that early in the season to this point."

Baltimore, on the other hand, has fared much better offensively. Early power numbers from Matt Wieters (six home runs), Adam Jones (six) and Nolan Reimold (five) have led the Orioles to 26 home runs as a team, good for third in the American League.

That's a welcome number for O's starter Jake Arrieta, who is looking to bounce back after his first loss of the season on Saturday against the Angels.

Arrieta tossed a season low 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits. The fifth proved to be the right-hander's undoing, with the Angels scoring all five of their runs in the frame.

"He's not a young pitcher anymore, all right?" manager Buck Showalter said of the 26-year-old Arrieta, who was the O's Opening Day starter. "It's time to win those types of games. We shouldn't have the type of problems we had. We need a shut-down inning there [in the fifth], and let's go. He's had enough experience to get through that. And he will."

Arrieta had his best outing in that Opening Day game, throwing seven innings of scoreless ball against Minnesota for the win. Since then though, he's surrendered 13 runs in his last three starts.

Athletics: Crisp expected back
Outfielder Coco Crisp is expected to return Friday. Crisp has missed seven of the past eight games with a head cold/inner ear problem. Crisp is hitting .167 with three runs and two stolen bases in 13 games this season.

• Brandon McCarthy will make the start for the A's. The right-hander has been the unfortunate recipient of low run support, receiving fewer than runs in three of his starts.

Orioles: Reimold returns
Nolan Reimold, out of the starting lineup for four straight games with neck spasms, was back in the leadoff spot for Thursday's game with the Jays. He finished 1-for-5.

"I'm doing better," Reimold said. "I hit [Wednesday] and it didn't get worse or anything. It feels better today, and we'll give it a go."

• Showalter needs three wins to reach 1,000 for his career. He would be the 58th manager to reach that milestone.

Worth noting
• This is the first of three meetings between the teams. The O's host the A's for a three-game series July 27-29, then travel to Oakland for a three-game set Sept. 14-16.

• Robert Andino is scheduled to return to Baltimore on Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET. He went back home to be with his wife for the delivery of their baby girl, who was born Wednesday.

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