BALTIMORE (AP) – Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez hit successive homers in a seven-run third inning, and the Oakland Athletics used a 15-hit attack to cruise past the struggling Baltimore Orioles 12-3 Saturday.

Mark Ellis homered and drove in three runs, Jay Payton tied a career high with four hits, and Crosby had three hits and scored twice to help Oakland win its fourth straight.

Joe Kennedy (3-0) pitched five innings of four-hit ball in his first start with the A’s since joining the team in a July 13 trade with Colorado. The left-hander started for Rich Harden, who has a strained muscle in his right side.

Melvin Mora homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven of eight. Baltimore committed three errors in falling to 10-11 under interim manager Sam Perlozzo.

Right fielder Sammy Sosa missed a second straight game for the Orioles after having a growth removed from under the nail of his right big toe Friday, and Perlozzo rested first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who is 2-for-20 since returning on Aug. 11 from a 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids.

Baltimore starter Eric DuBose, who allowed one hit over six shutout innings against Oakland just 10 days earlier, gave up a run and two hits in the first inning. Crosby singled with two outs, advanced on a walk and scored on a single by Payton.

By the third inning, DuBose (1-2) was gone. After Mark Kotsay hit a leadoff single, Crosby and Chavez slammed 0-1 pitches over the right-field wall. Payton followed with a single and Dan Johnson walked before Perlozzo summoned James Baldwin from the bullpen.

Ellis hit a fly ball to right that B.J. Surhoff dropped, allowing Payton to score, and Bobby Kielty followed with an RBI single. Nick Swisher made the first out of the inning on a grounder before Jason Kendall hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-0.

Oakland added two runs in the fourth when Johnson hit a run-scoring double and scored on a single by Ellis.

Mora hit his 17th homer leading off the bottom half. It was his first home run in 36 games since July 15.

Ellis homered in the sixth after Payton’s fourth single of the game to make it 12-1. Payton finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored.

Baltimore’s Luis Matos hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Sal Fasano in the seventh.

Notes: Chavez went 1-for-4 and is two hits shy of 1,000 for his career. … DuBose has yielded nine runs and 14 hits over four innings in his last two starts. … Oakland is 16-3 in its last 19 road games.

AP-ES-08-27-05 1921EDT

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