NEW YORK -- The A's have played 13 games in 14 days against the best competition the American League has to offer.
Despite losing 2-1 to the Yankees on Thursday, the A's went 7-6 running the gantlet through the top teams in the East (Toronto) and Central (Detroit) and a pair of second-place teams (Yankees and Angels).
Except for the slip-up in Toronto, where the A's lost all three games, they have looked stronger than ever. Oakland has the best record in the league at 37-23 and now heads to Baltimore for a three-game date with another second-place team.
Even Thursday, when the A's failed to break through in the eighth and ninth innings as they've done so much this season, it was a case of shoulder-shrugging and moving on.
"The thing we all know in this clubhouse is that we don't quit," catcher Stephen Vogt said. Vogt, shoved into right field Thursday so the A's could have an extra bat, made a nice play on defense and had a couple hits, including one in the ninth.
"We're not going to stop getting good at-bats. It's just sometimes it doesn't work."
Now, heading into Baltimore, Oakland is something of a faceless juggernaut, perhaps not led by any big names, but leading the A.L. in wins while leading the majors in both ERA (2.90) and runs scored (309).
A team with back-to-back A.L. West titles is, 60 games into the season, in position for a three-peat if the level of performance can be sustained.
The clearly the A's believe it can be sustained. Drew Pomeranz, who has come from the deepest recesses of the A's bullpen to post a 4-2 record and a 2.30 ERA as a starter even after taking the loss Thursday, said the Yankees and their 9-1 starter Masahiro Tanaka were fortunate to catch the A's offense on a down day.
"I think he was a little bit lucky the way our hitters have been putting up so many runs," Pomeranz said. "I don't think it makes a big difference who the opposing pitcher is. These guys have done such a good job scoring runs no matter who the other team is throwing."
Tuesday saw the A's held down for seven innings, only to tie the game in the eighth and win it in the 10th. Wednesday saw the Yankees take a 4-0 lead only to have Oakland blow past them for a 7-4 win.
The script Thursday was the same, only the outcome was different.
Oakland got the first two men on base in the eighth, but Josh Donaldson struck out, Brandon Moss' sinking liner was caught by Ichiro Suzuki with a nice sprint and slide, and Yoenis Cespedes struck out.
Vogt singled with one out in the ninth, and pinch-runner Craig Gentry stole second and took third on a wild pitch before the game ended with Derek Norris taking a called third strike.
"We've had a lot of those opportunities we've come through on," said John Jaso, whose two hits included a first-inning homer that provided Oakland its only run. "But you have to remember we are still facing big league pitchers, and hitting isn't that easy to do.
"It was bound to happen that we wouldn't do it one time. But overall, I'd say our ratio is pretty good."
Good enough that the A's feel they can take one loss in stride.
Chapman is a strong-armed infielder who, in limited pitching experience, has been clocked with a fastball as high as 98 mph. He didn't pitch during his three years in college, but a move to the mound could be a fallback option for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Chapman.
Chapman batted .312 with six home runs, 16 doubles and 48 RBIs for the Titans and had 20 RBIs last summer while playing for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team.
Staff writer Jimmy Durkin contributed to this report.
A's (Tommy Milone 3-3) at Orioles (Wei-Yin Chen 6-2), 4:05 p.m. CSNCA