The Athletics go for a third straight victory when they continue a three-game weekend set on Saturday against the Indians (20-13).
Oakland (18-16) has been near the bottom of the majors in runs and batting average this season, but has been dominant of late. The A’s recorded 14 hits, including two homers, en route to an 8-2 victory on Friday.
That win followed a 17-3 rout of Kansas City on Thursday, when Oakland set season-highs for runs, hits and homers. With the victories, Oakland has boosted its batting average 10 points to .248.
Jack Cust drove in four runs Friday with a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh and a two-run single in the eighth. He was acquired from San Diego earlier this month and recalled from the minors May 4 after Mike Piazza went on the disabled list.
Cust, who homered twice on Thursday, is hitting .316 (6-for-19) with four homers and nine RBIs in five games with Oakland.
“I’ve seen him since 1999 and I’ve always respected the way he swings the bat,” said A’s manager Bob Geren, whose team has won four of its last five games. “The offense was sputtering early a bit but now the power numbers are coming.”
Dan Johnson went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .452 (19-for-42) with four homers and 12 RBIs during that stretch.
The Indians, meanwhile, have been outscored 19-4 during a three-game skid and are trying to avoid a season-high fourth straight.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner was 0-for-4 Friday and is batting just .121 (4-for-33) over his last last nine games. Ryan Garko was the lone bright spot Friday, going 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and two RBIs—he has at least one hit in four career games versus Oakland.
“Garko had a real good night and a couple of other guys are going OK,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We need to get everybody else going.”
Fausto Carmona (3-1, 2.97 ERA) tries to win his fourth straight start for Cleveland. The right-hander has allowed just three earned runs through the last 23 innings, leading to the longest winning streak of his career.
He was sent to the minors on May 1 when Cliff Lee was activated from the disabled list, but was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday when Jake Westbrook was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained abdominal muscle. Carmona then held Baltimore to one unearned run and seven hits over seven innings in a 10-1 win.
“Another great effort by Carmona. He didn’t miss a beat,” Wedge said.
Carmona has a 2.25 ERA in two career appearances against Oakland, but hasn’t recorded a decision.
Rookie Dallas Braden (1-1, 5.23) will make just his third career start for the A’s.
The left-hander will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Rich Harden, who is on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Braden made two starts in April before sent down on May 1.
Facing Tampa Bay on April 29, Braden gave up five runs and six hits— including three homers—over 4 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss.