Oakland starter Mark Mulder hasn’t needed much help from his bullpen lately.
Mulder will shoot for his fourth consecutive complete game when the Athletics conclude their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Mulder allowed just three hits in Friday’s 7-0 win over Kansas City—his 20th career complete game and eighth career shutout. The left-hander, whose previous outing also came against Kansas City, has thrown three consecutive complete games twice in his career.
“When you keep your pitch counts down, you can stay in there a long time,” said Mulder, who threw 108 pitches on Friday. “I like throwing complete games. I like to finish what I start.”
Mulder, who had not tossed a shutout since May 6 of last season, held the Royals hitless through six innings. He has never thrown a no-hitter, but did one-hit Arizona on July 6, 2001, the same season the Diamondbacks captured their only World Series title.
“I know what’s going on. I knew I hadn’t given up a hit,” Mulder said. “But you’ve just gotta keep making pitches. You can’t start picking, because that’s when you start making mistakes.
“Who doesn’t want to throw a no-hitter? But if a guy gets a hit, he gets a hit. What can you do?”
Mulder has allowed just five runs in his last three starts after being pounded for seven earned runs and 13 hits over 6 1-3 innings in Oakland’s 10-8 loss to the New York Yankees on May 4.
“Obviously, I feel strong going into each start,” Mulder said.
Oakland manager Ken Macha has been impressed with Mulder, who struck out six and walked none on Friday.
“When you get movement on your fastball like he does, you’re going to get some quick outs,” Macha said. “When you have stuff like that and you’re commanding it, you’re going to beat a lot of teams.”
The Red Sox beat the Athletics 9-6 Wednesday for their fifth straight win and ninth in 11 games. Jason Varitek hit a three-run homer for Boston, which scored four unearned runs in the fourth inning.
“It’s just a moment in the game,” Varitek said. “It doesn’t matter when it happens. It’s important to get a hit.”
Eric Chavez homered for the A’s, who have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak.