The Oakland Athletics need to build some momentum if they are going to make the playoffs.
They’ll look to begin that process when they open a 10-game homestand against the Minnesota Twins.
Oakland is two games behind first-place Los Angeles in the AL West. After hosting Minnesota and Texas to start this homestand, the Athletics will welcome the Angels for four games next week.
The A’s salvaged a split of a four-game series at Boston with a 12-3 win on Sunday. Eric Chavez homered twice and drove in five to snap a 4-for-31 skid.
“It was just a refreshing day for everybody, I think, especially the coaching staff,” Chavez said. “We’ve been playing some tight ballgames and they’ve been able to sit back and relax and enjoy this one.”
Oakland split 10 games on its road trip and realizes it must have a strong homestand to return to the postseason after a one-year absence.
“When you set out at the beginning of the season, if you can win half your games on the road and take care of business at home, you’re going to do pretty good,” Oakland pitcher Kirk Saarloos said.
Catcher Jason Kendall went 2-for-5 on Sunday to continue his hot hitting. Kendall hit .405 (17-for-42) on the road trip with eight multi-hit games.
Oakland sends Barry Zito to the mound Monday.
Zito is 0-2 with an ugly 8.10 ERA over his last three starts. The 2002 Cy Young Award winner was tagged for six runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 6-4 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday.
The left-hander is 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA in nine career starts against the Twins. Zito allowed two runs and four hits over eight innings in a 5-2 win at the Metrodome on Aug. 4 in his lone start this season against Minnesota.
Twins starter Brad Radke is 2-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 15 road starts this season. Radke, who hasn’t faced Oakland this season, is 7-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 23 career outings against the A’s.
“Radke’s going to be throwing his changeups that stop halfway in,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
Radke is 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA over his last three starts. The veteran right-hander gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings in a 9-3 victory at Detroit on Tuesday.
The Twins lost for the third time in four games, 2-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Minnesota has managed only nine runs in that span and is one loss or one Chicago win away from being eliminated from contention for a fourth straight AL Central division title.