St. Louis (29-36) at Oakland (37-30)

Fair Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 17, 2007
  • TV: FSMW, FSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Oakland Athletics look to put an embarrassing loss behind them and try to win their sixth straight series on Sunday when they wrap up a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals.

After losing two of three games at Baltimore from May 25-27, the Athletics (37-30) have put together an impressive run to keep pressure on the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Oakland is tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in the majors since May 28 at 13-5, moving within five games of the Angels. The A’s have won their last five series, and have not won six in a row since July 27-Aug. 16 of last season.

Oakland posted an impressive 14-3 win in Friday’s series opener, but carried no momentum into Saturday, losing 15-6 - its most lopsided defeat of the season.

The A’s have the top ERA in the AL (3.30), and had allowed three runs or less in eight of their previous 10 games, but gave up 10 runs alone in Saturday’s fifth inning.

“We’ve had such good pitching for so long, you’d never predict something like that,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said.

Joe Kennedy (2-4, 3.50 ERA) tries to give the A’s another solid pitching performance when he takes the ball in the series finale.

Kennedy has pitched well at home this season, but hasn’t got much help from his offense, resulting in a 1-1 record in six starts at McAfee Coliseum. He has the sixth-best home ERA in the AL (2.03), allowing just one run in four of his starts at McAfee, but has been backed by the league’s fourth-worst run support average (2.63) at home.

In his last start, the left-hander allowed four runs and six hits in five innings of a 5-4, 11-inning loss at Houston on Tuesday.

Kennedy hasn’t faced the Cardinals since 2005 with Colorado, and struggled against them in three starts, going 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA.

Oakland dropped to 8-3 in interleague games, while St. Louis (29-36) improved to just 3-8 against the AL with Saturday’s victory.

The Cardinals, who have scored the third-fewest runs in the majors (276), scored a season high in runs and topped double digits for the first time since a 12-9, 10-inning win over the Chicago Cubs on April 22.

So Taguchi had four hits and three RBIs, Juan Encarnacion drove in three and Chris Duncan had a pinch-hit grand slam to lead St. Louis’ struggling offense.

“A lot of really good at-bats,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We moved the ball all over the field and didn’t try to do too much.”

The Cardinals recalled Anthony Reyes (0-8, 6.08) from Triple-A Memphis to start in place of Brad Thompson in Sunday’s series finale.

Reyes, who won the World Series opener for St. Louis last fall, had an ugly first two months in the majors to start the season.

Reyes was sent to the minors after allowing five runs, eight hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss to Washington on May 25.

This will be his first career start against Oakland.

The Cardinals are winless in Reyes’ nine starts, but it hasn’t all been the right-hander’s fault. The offense has only backed him with 10 runs in those games, providing him with no run support in four of those games.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Reyes Cle vs. J. Kennedy Tor
2-14 Record 4-9
6.04 ERA 4.80
74 K 51
43 BB 55
1.41 WHIP 1.57

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 17