The Athletics are crushing the ball. In winning, 4-3, in 11 innings on Friday night, Oakland continued its impressive streak, homering in its 14th straight game, thanks to solo shots from Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris.
Instead of facing originally scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the disabled list on Friday, Oakland's high-powered bats will meet right-hander Kevin Gausman, who started five games last year, but mostly saw time out of the bullpen for the Orioles. He made one start this season on May 14, throwing four innings against Detroit.
Gonzalez landed on the DL with a strained right oblique, retroactive to May 31. The hope is that the righty, who is 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA this season, won't be sidelined long.
Gonzalez had an MRI this week and though the results were favorable, meaning no serious injury, the Orioles decided not to risk starting him Saturday, especially after using six pitchers in Thursday's 8-6 loss at the Texas Rangers.
"I'll think he'll be OK," said manager Buck Showalter about Gausman. "If not we'll shuffle the deck ... I'm hoping Miguel is an option on [June] the 15th, 16th or 17th, depending on where we want to slot him. I hope that Kevin makes it real hard on us, wanting to keep him around."
Gausman, drafted fourth overall in 2012 by the Orioles, will face A's ace Sonny Gray, who has hung around the American League ERA leaderboard all season, entering Friday with a 2.45 mark -- good for fifth in the AL.
The right-hander most recently limited the Angels to three runs over 6 2/3 innings while throwing a season-high 113 pitches on Sunday. In doing so, he improved to 6-1 on the year, posting his 11th quality start in 12 tries.
"I've felt really good the last couple times out," said Gray. "Figuring some things out a little later in the game with my breaking ball. I expect to move forward with that and just get better the next time out."
"You always feel good when he takes the mound," said manager Bob Melvin.
On the road this year, Gray is 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA and .160 opponents' average. He's made just one career start against the Orioles, and it also doubles as the worst start of his career, having allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in just 3 1/3 innings on Aug. 25, 2013.
A's: Melvin to be cautious with Crisp
• Coco Crisp was held out of the A's starting lineup with ongoing neck soreness for the second time in three days Friday, and it's likely he misses a few more starts from time to time until the issue goes away.
Oakland's center fielder initially suffered a neck strain nearly a month ago and, after missing several games thereafter, has been trying to play through it without avail.
"I think, now, it's just about trying to get him a few days of rest to try to get him better," said Melvin. "He'll feel pretty good after a day of rest and then play a game and then maybe take half a step backward. So I'm going to be a little bit more proactive about getting him more rest here, so there will be some days you won't see him in the lineup."
Enter Craig Gentry, who started in center field while batting leadoff in Baltimore on Friday.
"That's why we got him," said Melvin. "Coco always needs some days off based on how hard he plays, and he's getting a little bit older. We knew that coming in, so that's why we targeted Craig. It's nice to have a guy like that. You know you're getting a guy that can do different things on the field."
Crisp entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and drew a leadoff walk before scoring the tying run.
Orioles: Hunter to make rehab start Saturday
• Tommy Hunter will pitch for Class A Delmarva on Saturday on a rehab assignment, and the plan is for him to be activated off the disabled list on Sunday.
"He threw two innings today in a sim game -- it went well," Showalter said of Hunter, who was out pregame in Texas getting his work in. "Covered first. So Saturday he will drive up to Delmarva, it's our only home team [that day]."
Hunter will drive back that night, and the O's will have to make a roster move to add him back prior to Sunday's game. Hunter's DL stay is retroactive to May 21 and the right-hander bounced back fairly quick from the left groin strain. Hunter joined the O's in Texas on Monday night and threw a side session on Tuesday.
• This series marks the first meeting of 2014, after the A's lost the season series last year, 2-5. It was the A's first season series loss to Baltimore since 1998.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.