Toronto (39-52) at Oakland (50-40)

Fair Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 43° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Mon Jul 19, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kirk Saarloos has done a job worthy of a permanent spot in the Oakland Athletics’ rotation.

Filling in nicely for injured right-hander Tim Hudson, Saarloos will be back on the mound when the A’s open a three-game series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

Since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 27, Saarloos has not allowed an earned run in his two starts, spanning 11 2-3 innings. It appears he may be in the rotation for a while longer as Hudson, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, is coming along very slowly in his recovery.

Saarloos, a 25-year-old right-hander who went 8-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 53 appearances, including 21 starts, for Houston from 2002-03, had his way with Cleveland on July 9, allowing one unearned run over 6 2-3 innings in the Athletics’ 5-4 loss.

Saarloos, who escaped without the decision, forced the Indians into 17 ground-ball outs.

“When the ball’s up in the air for line drives and fly outs, I’m not doing well,” Saarloos said. “I live on ground-ball outs. Getting the ball on the ground and letting the defense work for me is my gameplan.”

The Athletics have won three of four, thanks to Mark Mulder’s solid effort on the mound on Sunday. Mulder pitched three-hit ball into the ninth inning to become the majors’ first 13-game winner as the A’s topped the Chicago White Sox 5-3.

Jermaine Dye went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and is hitting .391 (9-for-23) over his last six games with one homer and seven RBIs for Oakland, which is 30-13 at home.

“They have to move the A’s anyplace,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Move this team out of here.”

The Blue Jays have dropped six straight, including a 7-5 defeat in Texas on Sunday. Toronto carried a four-run lead into the bottom of the eighth before Texas scored six runs, four coming on a grand slam by Mark Teixeira.

Earlier Sunday, the Blue Jays learned they will not get Frank Catalanotto back in the lineup for this series, but there is a good chance he could return against the New York Yankees later in the week.

Catalanotto has missed the last two months with what the Blue Jays medical staff thought was a groin injury, but the outfielder found out Sunday he has a three-inch tear in his right external oblique fascia.

The injury, also known as “hockey groin syndrome,” had baffled Catalanotto and the doctors for weeks.

“It doesn’t show up in MRIs or ultrasound,” Catalanotto said. “None of the doctors in Toronto could diagnose it, and we’re in the biggest hockey town. It’s ironic.”

The injury requires surgery to be corrected, but Catalanotto has decided to play the rest of the season in pain because doctors have assured him he can’t hurt himself any worse.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Towers LAD vs. K. Saarloos Cle
9-9 Record 2-1
5.11 ERA 4.44
51 K 10
26 BB 12
1.50 WHIP 1.60