Oakland (9-7) at Texas (6-10)

  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sat Apr 21, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Oakland Athletics pitching staff is one of baseball’s best, and now their offense may be breaking out. The same cannot be said for the Texas Rangers.

The Athletics look to win their fifth straight game when they continue their three-game series against the slumping Rangers on Saturday.

Oakland (9-7) pounded out season highs of three home runs and five doubles, while also scoring a season high in Friday’s series-opening 16-4 victory.

The A’s have the lowest staff ERA in the AL at 2.77, but had scored just 12 runs in the first three games of their winning streak before Friday’s outburst.

Oakland rookie Travis Buck hit his first career home run and drove in a career-high five runs.

“Every time I’m in the lineup I expect things out of myself, and I feel the team does, too,” said Buck, who had been 0-for-6 in his previous two games. “I feel like I belong here. It’s just a matter of going out and proving it. Of course a game like tonight helps.”

Bobby Crosby went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, giving him five RBIs in his last three games. The shortstop is 5-for-7 (.714) with a homer in his career against Kameron Loe (0-0, 5.40 ERA), who makes his first start of the season for the Rangers Saturday, filling in for the injured Jamey Wright.

Loe has struggled out of the bullpen, allowing at least one run in three of his five relief appearances. His last time out, he gave up four runs - two earned - and five hits in three innings of a 14-6 loss to Seattle on Sunday.

The 25-year-old right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.02 ERA in seven career games against Oakland.

Texas’ (6-10) 5.72 staff ERA is second-highest in the majors. The Rangers issued a season-high 12 walks in the series opener, after allowing 10 in Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Offensively, the Rangers rank 29th with a .221 team batting average.

Friday’s loss was the third straight and fifth in six games for Texas, as Ron Washington managed his first regular-season game against his former team.

“It wasn’t Ron Washington against the A’s,” said Washington, who served 11 seasons on Oakland’s coaching staff. “You’re going to have nights like that. You take a shower and move on.”

Shortstop Michael Young went 1-for-4 on Friday, raising his batting average to a paltry .185. Young, who won the AL batting title in 2005 with a .331 average, looks to get out of his slump against Oakland starter Joe Kennedy (0-1, 3.75), against whom he’s 7-for-16 (.438) lifetime with three doubles and a triple.

After allowing just three runs in 11 innings in his first two starts of the season, Kennedy was used out of the bullpen his last time out because of off days in the schedule. The left-hander gave up three runs, two hits and a walk in one inning of work in Oakland’s 5-4 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday.

Kennedy is 1-3 with a 5.28 ERA and one save in 13 games, including three starts, in his career against Texas.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Kennedy TOR vs. K. Loe ARI
4-9 Record 6-11
4.80 ERA 5.36
51 K 78
55 BB 56
1.57 WHIP 1.60


Saturday, Apr 21