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08/11/09 10:23 PM ET

Not in the cards for Cahill, A's in tight game

Oakland unable to support right-hander's solid start

BALTIMORE --- Trevor Cahill walked into the Oakland dugout after the fifth inning, slammed his glove on the bench and then slumped down beside his teammates.

The Athletics starter had just given up two runs in the inning, surrendered the lead to the Orioles and all but erased his chance at the victory. It had been a solid outing for Cahill prior to the fifth frame, but it wasn't enough to keep his team from falling to the Orioles on Tuesday, 3-2.

Cahill pitched seven innings for his longest outing since July 22. The rookie allowed three earned runs on eight hits and issued no walks while striking out four batters in the loss.

"I was happy I was able to go seven," Cahill said. "That's what I've been trying to do, is go deep in the game, and I was happy I didn't walk anybody. That's how I've been struggling this year. I fell behind a couple of times and was still able to get some outs, so I was happy with that."

Tuesday's game was a pitchers' duel between two rookies, pitting Cahill against Baltimore starter David Hernandez. Hernandez, who lasted 6 2/3 innings, held the edge when the final out was recorded, however. He gave up just two runs to pick up his fourth win of the season.

The A's fell into an early hole in the second inning after Baltimore's Melvin Mora hit into a fielder's choice, sending home Nolan Reimold to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Oakland responded with solo home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, from Scott Hairston and Adam Kennedy, respectively, giving Cahill a one-run cushion to work with. But the lead for Cahill would be short lived, however, as three hits by Baltimore in the fifth resulted in two runs, giving the Orioles the lead right back, and sending Cahill into his brief outburst in the dugout.

But Cahill's display of frustration was preceded by a mistake by Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, one that could've broken the game wide open for Baltimore.

With Roberts at second and one out, right fielder Nick Markakis popped up to the infield. Instead of staying at second, however, Roberts took off for home, presumably assuming there were two outs. Kennedy made the catch for the second out and then fired over to second to end the inning on one of the strangest double plays.

After the game, Oakland manager Bob Geren talked about his team's struggles to get base runners out. The Orioles had three stolen bases. When asked, however, about Roberts' baserunning error, Geren was sure to not include that in the free passes his team allowed.

"He wasn't stealing there," Geren said. "That was a strange one. When it went up, I'm thinking, 'Am I the only one that thinks there's one out here?' I had to double-check myself, like maybe I missed one, but no."

Despite the mental error on that play, Roberts was able to find success against Cahill. The Orioles' leadoff man went 3-for-4 with an RBI and an extra base hit to accompany his two stolen bases. He is now batting .286.

Kennedy, the A's leadoff hitter, was the only Oakland player to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 and netting his 10th home run of the season in the fifth.

Cahill is now 6-12 this season, but he has lowered his ERA to 5.06. Despite the loss Tuesday night, the rookie can still feel good heading into his next start against the Orioles. In two career starts against Baltimore, Cahill has pitched 13 innings, allowing just five earned runs and issuing no walks while registering nine strikeouts.

Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.