BALTIMORE — It wasn't much of a surprise to see pitcher Gio Gonzalez put together another solid game for the A's on Monday.
The night that Mark Ellis had? Well, that shouldn't have sneaked up on people, either.
The A's second baseman continued his torrid pace by going a career-best 5-for-5 to help lead his team to a storm-delayed 9-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Ellis now has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games and has raised his average from .205 to .270 since July 19.
"I didn't know that I've never had five hits before," said Ellis, whose four RBI were a season high. "It feels good, especially when you get a win."
Ellis had an RBI single in the second inning and added a two-run single in the fifth as the A's took a five-run lead en route to their sixth win in eight games.
He didn't start Sunday's game at Kansas City as A's manager Bob Geren tried to give the veteran only his second day off since he returned from the 60-day disabled list June 28. Ellis entered that game as a late defensive substitution in Oakland's 6-3 victory.
"He's been swinging the bat pretty well lately," Geren said. "He had a lot of days in a row where he played, and I talked to him the other day about how a day off might help him. And I think it did."
"(Geren's) the reason I had the five hits," Ellis said jokingly.
Ellis' performance momentarily stole the spotlight from Gonzalez, who struck out five and
But trailing by five runs, the Orioles put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. A driving rain, followed by thunder and lightning, hit Baltimore's inner harbor and caused a 52-minute delay.
When play resumed, reliever Craig Breslow retired the three batters he faced on just nine pitches, and the A's improved to 4-0 against the Orioles this season.
When asked if the storm came at the perfect time, Gonzalez said, "No, Breslow came out at the perfect time. That's more like it."
Gonzalez, 4-0 since early July, has been a different pitcher since his first four appearances for the A's from May to late June, when he allowed a combined 14 earned runs in 171/3 innings.
In his past four outings, including Monday's, Gonzalez has allowed four earned runs in 242/3 innings.
Baltimore, last in the American League East, has just two victories in its past 11 games, and the A's are now 3-1 on this six-game road trip against AL cellar dwellers.
"I was being respectful to each one of (Baltimore's) hitters and trying to keep the ball away from their bats, but at the same time, trying to find the strike zone," Gonzalez said. "Baltimore's a good ballclub, and I'm just grateful it ended up the way it did."