Mark Mulder is virtually unbeatable at Network Associates Coliseum.
Mulder is 10-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 12 home starts this year, tossing six of his major league-leading nine complete games at the Coliseum. He has dominated opponents in Oakland throughout his first four seasons in the majors, boasting a 34-9 mark with a 2.88 ERA—more than a run and a half better than his career ERA on the road (4.57).
Mulder had won three straight starts before Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The left-hander yielded three runs and 10 hits over eight innings, striking out two without a walk.
Tim Hudson outpitched Pedro Martinez to lead the A’s to a 4-0 win in Monday’s series opener. Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito helped Oakland to a 5-3 victory Tuesday, giving Mulder a chance to give the “Big Three” three straight wins over the Red Sox.
Oakland, which owns the majors’ best home record at 42-18, is 7-4 in August. Boston has gone 5-7 this month, dropping five of its last six, to slip four games back of first-place New York in the AL East.
The A’s have also won 11 of 13 at home.
STANDINGS: Red Sox - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL East. Athletics - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL West.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Derek Lowe (11-6, 5.07 ERA). Lowe has dropped consecutive starts, including Friday’s 10-4 loss to Baltimore at Fenway Park. The veteran right-hander, a 20-game winner last season, was pounded for six runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out three and walking one. Lowe, a full-time reliever before last season, is 7-2 with five saves and a 3.75 ERA in 21 career appearances, including four starts, against Oakland.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Mulder (15-8, 2.94 ERA). Mulder is 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox. He has not lost consecutive starts since June 3-8.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .326 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 26 HRs; Nomar Garciaparra, 82 RBIs and 92 runs; Johnny Damon, 22 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .274 avg. and 9 SBs; Chavez, 23 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 72 RBIs and 66 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - OF Trot Nixon and manager Grady Little were ejected in the seventh inning Tuesday. Nixon was tossed for arguing a called third strike, and plate umpire Dan Iassogna ejected Little for arguing Nixon’s dismissal. … Boston has dropped six of its last seven on the road. … SS Garciaparra is 4-for-10 with a homer and two RBIs in his career against LHP Mulder. Athletics - RHP Keith Foulke got the final six outs Tuesday for his 29th save in 34 chances. … 3B Chavez is hitting .429 (6-for-14) with two doubles and three RBIs in his career against RHP Lowe. … Lowe is 4-4 with a 7.03 ERA in 12 road starts this year. He is 7-2 with a 3.53 ERA at home.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 29-32 on the road; Athletics - 42-18 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - 1B-DH Jeremy Giambi (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brandon Lyon (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ramiro Mendoza (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL. Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jim Mecir (knee), 15-day DL.