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OAK@BAL: Moss drives a grand slam to center field

BALTIMORE -- The A's have always believed in the clout of walks. Home runs are good, too, of course.

This team, in particular, loves them both. And on Sunday, they weren't shy about it.

The pesky A's walked a season-high 11 times, along the way getting a grand slam from Brandon Moss in support of a superb Scott Kazmir in an 11-1 series-clinching rout of the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The two clubs also engaged in yet another benches-clearing escapade involving Baltimore's Manny Machado for the second time in three days, tying a nice, big bow on what was a rather eventful afternoon.

It was John Jaso who nearly had the slam, after right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez walked the bases loaded to begin the third inning, but the home run was overturned on a crew chief review, and Jaso had to settle on a two-run double.

"He just doesn't have enough pop," joked Moss, who, one walk and one out later, lined a no-doubter of a homer over the center-field wall for a 6-0 lead, giving him his second grand slam of the season and the A's fourth.

That would mark the end for Jimenez, who was charged with all six runs after walking five and allowing two hits in just 2 1/3 innings.

"Those type of guys, a lot of times we'll have success based on the fact we take a lot of pitches and we make you work, and then somebody squares one up," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We had some baserunners, and Jaso hits a ball good, Moss hits a ball good, and now they're in a position they have to take their starter out of the game and get in to their bullpen. When we're doing things correctly, that's how we attack pitchers who are a little bit wild."

"That's something our team is very good at, hitting pitches that are over the heart of the plate and taking ones that aren't," said Moss. "That inning we just got to him. He was missing the zone and we worked and worked him.

"He doesn't have to throw a strike there to me, and with the way he was struggling, he might not, but I was ready to hit from the first pitch because you never know when you get that one."

The A's were far from done, though.

They would add on in the fourth on an RBI single from Jaso, and again in the fifth, highlighted by Nick Punto's two-run base hit.

All the while, Kazmir kept the Orioles off the board with ease, limiting them to just four hits and two walks while fanning seven over seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.20 -- good for third in the American League.

The southpaw, who improved to 7-2 with the win, has allowed just three earned runs in his last 22 1/3 innings.

"Good again. Seems like a broken record with the way he pitches for us," said Melvin. "He's just a very consistent guy. It's tough to even think about a tough game he's had for us. He's been spot-on every time."

The A's bats quieted in the final few frames, outside of Kyle Blanks' RBI single in the ninth, but plenty noise was made on the field without them, with the benches clearing for the second time in this series in the eighth frame.

With Machado at the plate, two days after he roared at Josh Donaldson following his fall to the ground on a tag -- leading the Orioles to throw at Donaldson -- A's lefty Fernando Abad pitched inside to the Orioles third baseman, prompting him to let go of his bat in his next swing.

Machado insisted it was unintentional, though the consensus in the A's clubhouse was that the bat was clearly aimed at Abad, even though it landed near third base. Both benches and bullpens ran on to the field and several minutes passed before order was restored.

Abad and Machado, whose second backswing to Derek Norris' head in the fifth forced the catcher out of the game, were both ejected.

"He said something about how he needed more pine tar," said catcher Vogt, who had replaced Norris behind the plate, before adding, "We're going to move on."

Easy to do for a first-place club with a Major League-leading plus-128 run differential.

"We've had some games like this before, and that's one reason the run differential is what it is," said Melvin. "We've had several blowouts, and they seem to be the same type of games -- draw some walks, make them throw a lot of pitches, and we score some runs early in the game."

"It starts with having good at-bats," said Jaso. "The walks, it shows we're not getting ourselves out, not beating ourselves. It shows great poise for us, taking those and not trying to do too much, passing it along to the guy behind us, and it pays off."

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