OAKLAND, Calif. -- The runs had to come from somewhere, and soon. Jason Johnson was pitching the game of his major-league life. It couldn't go unrewarded.
In what passed as an avalanche by the Orioles' standards, they buried Oakland starter Jimmy Haynes under a six-run fifth inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and avoiding a West Coast sweep yesterday with a 9-5 victory before 17,271 at Network Associates Coliseum.
The Orioles returned to Baltimore last night to begin a four-game homestand against Detroit before again hitting the road. Until yesterday, that would have constituted the only hitting the club had done lately.
Six runs had been scored by the Orioles in their past four games, and they were batting .212 this month. But they had nine hits by the time Ryan Minor struck out looking to end the fifth. They had a six-game losing streak behind them after Scott Spiezio lined to left for the final out.
Albert Belle and Mike Bordick homered for the Orioles (47-60), who had lost all three games in Seattle and the first two in Oakland. Bordick's blast, which almost matched Belle's for distance far beyond the left-field wall, came with two runners aboard in the fifth. Catcher Mike Figga, providing Charles Johnson with a much-needed rest, already had doubled in a run. Jeff Conine and Delino DeShields singled in runs, the last coming off reliever Mike Oquist, to complete the onslaught.
"It was nice to see," Bordick said. "This road trip we've really been held down offensively and haven't been able to push many runs across the plate. It was nice to do that today, especially when you get such a good pitching performance. We battled."
DeShields had two hits in the fifth. He beat out a slow roller as the first batter, giving him four hits in his last seven plate appearances.
Miller was waiting for some others to heat up. Or catch their breath.
He rested Will Clark, who's still bothered by a sore right ankle and began yesterday in a 1-for-13 slide. Belle was 1-for-12, Bordick 6-for-31. Conine, who had three hits and drove in two, was 3-for-16. B. J. Surhoff, who doubled and singled in a ninth-inning run, was 1-for-13.
"When you're in losing streaks," Miller said, "you have to be able to manufacture some runs."
Johnson (3-5) did a pretty decent job of preventing them. He retired 12 in a row after Jason Giambi's first-inning homer in ending the A's eight-game home winning streak. Johnson allowed a two-out, run-scoring single to No. 9 hitter A. J. Hinch in the fifth, then blanked the A's until the eighth, when a leadoff double by Hinch and single by Ryan Christenson forced his removal.
Scott Kamieniecki got a double-play grounder on his first pitch, scoring Christenson to reduce the lead to 7-3 and easing some of Johnson's frustration. He clearly didn't want to come out, shaking his head as he walked off the mound and checking his pitch count, which stood at 107. But his disgust wasn't aimed at the manager.
"I was mad at myself. I was absolutely upset with myself. It was probably the right time for me to come out. I had not gotten a ground-ball double play the whole game," he said.
"I wanted to get more than the seventh inning. I haven't done that the whole year and it was my fault that I didn't in this game. I was still strong, but I had more pop flies than ground balls and we needed a double play."
Ben Grieve hit a two-run homer off Kamieniecki in the ninth. Jesse Orosco was brought in to get the last out, leaving him three behind Dennis Eckersley for the all-time lead in games pitched with 1,071.
Johnson did considerably better than his last start here on May 29, when he allowed four earned runs and six hits in three innings. The Orioles rallied for a 7-5 win.
"This was my best game the whole year," he said. "My mechanics were exactly where I wanted them. I was following through perfect, going right at home plate. That's what I've been doing the whole year, falling off. I was real happy with the way I did today. From the first pitch on, I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing."
Said Miller: "He threw strikes. He's a young kid. I want to get him some momentum. When you get people out by getting the ball and going right after them, you get more time out there and start feeling better. He still has a tendency to be a little too fine sometimes, but he's got a high upside."
Haynes (7-10), who broke into the majors with the Orioles, either has been very good or very bad. Yesterday was an easy call.
The right-hander had posted a 2.06 ERA in his seven wins and a 7.19 ERA in his 14 other starts. He allowed Belle's 26th homer leading off the second to erase a 1-0 lead, then unraveled in the fifth. The loss dropped his record against the Orioles to 0-5, with 36 runs allowed in 37 1/3 innings.
Opponent: Detroit Tigers
Site: Camden Yards
Time: 7: 35
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Tigers' Jeff Weaver (6-7, 4.80) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (9-7, 4.18)
Tickets: About 9,000 remain