The left-hander will try to make his third straight effective start when the AL West-leading A’s complete a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Mulder, Oakland’s most consistent pitcher this season, was placed on the disabled list Aug. 21 with a fractured hip and will likely miss the remainder of the year.
With Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and rookie Rich Harden anchoring the rotation, and Ted Lilly holding down the fourth spot, manager Ken Macha turned to Halama to come out of the bullpen and take Mulder’s turn every five days.
Thus far, the A’s have won both of Halama’s starts, including a 6-4 triumph over the Orioles on Sunday in which he permitted two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 strong innings for his first victory since May 8.
In his two outings since replacing Mulder, Halama has allowed five runs and 12 hits over 10 2-3 innings.
“Everybody knows that having Mulder out there is a lot better than myself, but I’ve just got to go out there and make a good effort and try to keep up in games,” Halama said. “I just tried to locate the ball down in the zone and let them get themselves out with ground balls.”
Oakland had its season-high 10-game winning streak snapped Wednesday, as Rodrigo Lopez fired a seven-hitter in a 9-0 rout of the A’s. Larry Bigbie hit a three-run homer for Baltimore, which posted its first victory in eight meetings with Oakland this year.
Despite the loss, the A’s maintained their two-game lead over second-place Seattle in the West. The Mariners suffered a 7-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 1st place, AL West. Orioles - 4th place, 22 1/2 GB, AL East.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Halama (3-4, 3.96 ERA). Halama is 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 10 career appearances, including seven starts, against the Orioles.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Eric DuBose (1-4, 4.24 ERA). DuBose had one of his best outings of the season in Friday’s 3-2 loss at Seattle. The rookie left-hander yielded two runs and two hits over a season-high eight innings, but did not qualify for a win after the Baltimore bullpen yielded three runs in the bottom of the ninth. DuBose is making his first career appearance against Oakland.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Miguel Tejada, .275 avg., 89 RBIs and 84 runs; Tejada and Eric Chavez, 24 HRs; Eric Byrnes, 9 SBs. Orioles - Jay Gibbons, .282 avg., 91 RBIs and 71 runs; Tony Batista, 23 HRs; Brian Roberts, 20 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 7-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - The A’s, who committed a season-high five errors Wednesday, had allowed just 10 runs in seven previous meetings with the Orioles. Oakland last committed five errors in a game on Aug. 8, 2000, against Detroit. … LHP Halama is winless on the road this season, going 0-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 14 appearances, including six starts. … Oakland has not lost consecutive games since Aug. 21-22. Orioles - OF Melvin Mora has been hit by a team-high 10 pitches this year. … LHP DuBose is 0-3 with a 4.08 ERA in five appearances, including two starts, at Camden Yards. … OF B.J. Surhoff is just 3-for-17 (.176) with one homer lifetime against Halama.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 33-35 on the road; Orioles - 34-33 at home.
INJURIES: Athletics - LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mulder (hip), 15-day DL. Orioles - 1B David Segui (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Omar Daal (rotator cuff), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (elbow), 60-day DL; 2B Jerry Hairston Jr. (foot), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.