BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles aren't waiting until September to mount a run at the playoffs.
"Trust me, it's been on," manager Buck Showalter said after Sunday's 10-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics. "You grind for February, March, April, May, June, July and August to have a chance to roll the dice the last five weeks, and that's where we are."
Chris Davis collected his 118th RBI, and J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis and Nate McLouth homered for the Orioles, who took two of three from Oakland to move within two games of the Athletics in the race for the second AL wild-card slot.
"It's huge for us," said Manny Machado, who had two RBIs. "Any win from now on is going to count for us at the end of the road."
After taking Monday off, the Orioles have three games in Boston, three at Yankee Stadium and three at Cleveland.
"We've just got to carry this momentum on this next road trip," said Markakis, who ended a lengthy power outage with his first extra-base hits since July 19. "We've got a tough road trip, every team we're playing is in it. We've got a pretty hectic little schedule at the end of the year, and we all realize that."
Machado said: "From now on we're going to be playing top-of-the-line teams. It's going to be coming down to teams we're fighting for a playoff spot."
Josh Donaldson homered for the Athletics, who have lost four of five.
"They're a good team, and we're a good team as well, and we just didn't play like we're capable of," losing pitcher Sonny Gray said. "It started with me in the first inning."
After Oakland scored in the top of the first, Baltimore answered with two in the bottom half and never trailed again.
In his first three major league starts, Gray (1-2) allowed a total of four earned runs and 10 hits over 21 innings. In this one, he didn't make it out of the fourth.
The 2011 first-round draft pick was vying to become the first major leaguer since Wayne Simpson in 1970 to begin his career with four consecutive starts of six innings while permitting four hits or fewer. That pursuit ended in the second, when the right-hander gave up three hits and fell behind 5-1.
Oakland had gone 105 straight games since April 25 without allowing 10 runs. Gray absorbed the brunt of the damage, yielding six runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Scott Feldman (4-3) gave up one run in five innings for the Orioles. The right-hander gave up three hits, walked four, hit a batter, committed a balk and needed 102 pitches to get 15 outs.
"It wasn't the prettiest outing," he said. "It was a battle from the get-go."