Machado hits 22nd homer, flirts with cycle

Orioles third baseman triples, homers and singles in loss to A's

Machado hits 22nd homer, flirts with cycle

OAKLAND -- Since a valley in early July, Orioles infielder Manny Machado has steadily seen his batting average climb, from .216 to his current mark of .259.

Machado did his best to break the .260 barrier Sunday, notching three hits -- a triple, single and and home run -- to flirt with the cycle in the Orioles' 9-3 loss to the A's. The loss dropped Baltimore to 2 1/2 games back of the Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"That's a heck of a climb," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That's a real tribute to him because you'd hate for him to get where he got to start with because he's such a good hitter. But to work his way back is really something he can reach back for as he goes forward in his career."

Machado's homer, which came in the eighth inning, was his 22nd. He tripled in his first at-bat and scored the game's first run. He notched a single to lead off the third, opening the door for a rally, but the Orioles couldn't capitalize.

Machado's solo smash

Machado, who will display the nickname "Mr. Miami" later this month during Players' Weekend, said his offensive momentum has been helped by the team's overall success. He's riding a modest three-game hitting streak, notching at least two hits in each game.

"We're winning games," said Machado, who's hitting .335 since July 1 with seven homers. "We're putting ourselves in a good position to win and that makes it a little easier when that happens to hit. There's nothing really different. It's not a miracle or something I've been doing different."

Machado and the Orioles, who have recently hovered around -- but not broken -- the .500 barrier, continue their 10-game West Coast road trip with a series against the Mariners (59-60) Monday. Both teams remain in the American League Wild Card hunt.

"We have a great team," Machado said. "We have a great lineup and pitching staff. Just things haven't turned out how we'd like them to be, but we're going to keep fighting until the end. We're not going to stop."

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.