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TOR@BAL: Machado's triple scores McLouth in seventh

Two of the surprise teams of 2012 are no longer surprising.

Late into April, the Orioles (12-9) and A's (13-9) are still winning, but respect from others around the league has severed their ties with the element of surprise.

Might as well consider them potential contenders now.

The two best offenses in the American League will look to keep spinning their magic on the West Coast as they meet in Oakland for a four-game series beginning on Thursday.

"They're picking up right where they left off," A's manager Bob Melvin said of the Orioles. "They're playing well. Another year of experience for guys like [Matt] Wieters and Adam Jones, these guys are really good players now, All-Stars.

"They just have a good team. Last year, a bit of a surprise, but certainly not this year. Everyone around the league looks at them as one of the better teams in the league."

The Orioles once again battled from behind on Wednesday, storming back from a three-run deficit against the Blue Jays to tie the game. The O's had a chance to seal a win in the bottom of the 10th, but Manny Machado was gunned down at home off a bullet from the arm of Rajai Davis.

The Orioles entered Wednesday tied for the Major League lead with eight comeback wins, and after beginning the year 0-4 in games decided by two or less runs, the O's have since gone 6-1 in such games.

The O's hand the ball to Jason Hammel, whose numbers this April aren't quite as impressive as they were a year ago, though he's been effective none the less, going 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA while holding opponents to four runs or less in each of his first four starts.

After Hammel allowed four runs in the first two innings against the Dodgers on Saturday, the right-hander settled in to throw four more innings, keeping the Dodgers scoreless as the Orioles were able to rally for a 7-5 win.

"That's why Ham kind of graduated a little bit as a starter, because what you see in the first inning isn't necessarily what you're going to be seeing in the fifth or sixth inning," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "They've got some guys who need to hopefully follow that lead. It's not, 'Woe is me and the sky is falling.' It's, 'OK, let's make an adjustment and let's get our team through this and get a chance to win the game and don't tax the bullpen too much.'"

The A's will be returning home from Boston, where their bats returned to life after scoring just four runs in a three-game series sweep at the hands of the Rays last weekend.

Oakland scored 24 runs in the three-game series, which included a 13-0 win on Tuesday.

"It was good to get some knocks," said catcher John Jaso. "It was kind of a good spirit lifter [Tuesday]."

Jarrod Parker, who posted his first quality start of the season Saturday against the Rays, will be on the mound for Oakland. Parker is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA and nine strikeouts to 10 walks in 18 innings this season.

Orioles: Bullpen finally breaks
The Orioles finally lost an extra-inning game on Wednesday, breaking their 17-game streak of consecutive extra-innings victories, the second longest streak ever.

The driving force has been the bullpen, which held onto a seventh-inning lead in their 100th consecutive game Tuesday, a streak as long as any team's during the expansion era (dating back to 1961), aside from the dominant Yankees' bullpen of 1998-99.

A's: Cespedes on the mend
Yoenis Cespedes, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 13 with a sprained muscle in his left hand, could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday, and would likely play three games before rejoining the A's when eligible on Sunday.

"If it were up to him, he would've flown out of here yesterday to try to get in a game last night," Melvin said.

Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Chris Young have rotated through the outfield in Cespedes' absence.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays didn't attempt to steal a base in three games against the Orioles, who have caught an Major League-best 62 percent (8-for-13) of attempted basestealers.

• Darren O'Day threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday, and he's allowed just one earned run in his last 25 innings. The Orioles are 19-4 in those 23 games.

• The A's are 11-2 against AL West opponents and 2-7 against all other teams.

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