Cincinnati tries for its first regular-season win against the Athletics when the teams open a three-game series Monday at McAfee Coliseum.
The Reds swept the Athletics in four games in 1990 to win their last World Series title. Since then, however, they have dropped six straight against the A’s, losing three games at home June 21-23, 2002, and three in Oakland June 7-9, 2004.
In the 2004 series, the Reds gave up 40 runs and 51 hits - the most runs the A’s have scored in a three-game series and the most the Reds had allowed in a series since 1950 against the Boston Braves. Oakland outscored Cincinnati 20-7 in 2002.
Cincinnati (27-43) doesn’t appear to be in much of a position to end the losing streak this time around. The Reds own the worst record in the National League and dropped two of three this weekend against the Texas Rangers, who have the worst record in baseball.
“You don’t want to be looking up at everybody else,” said right fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who had two homers in the Reds’ 8-4 win on Saturday, giving him 581 for his career. “Everybody’s trying to get better. We’ve done some good things here. We’ve done some bad things here.”
Adam Dunn connected twice in Sunday’s 11-4 loss for the Reds and is batting .448 (13-for-29) with four homers during a seven-game hitting streak.
The Athletics (37-31) lost two of three against St. Louis this weekend for their first series defeat since May 25-27 at Baltimore. Designated hitter Jack Cust hit his first homer since May 19 in Sunday’s 10-6 loss, but the team’s normally reliable defense and pitching failed to come through.
“This team is known for its pitching and it kept us in tons of games,” Cust said. “It’s surprising when we’re used to what usually goes on, but you’re not going to go out and give up (only) two runs every game.”
Cust has three hits in each of his last three games, becoming the 11th player in Oakland history to do it and the first since Scott Hatteberg - now with Cincinnati - from April 8-10, 2003, at Texas. Before Sunday’s game, the team announced that Mike Piazza will be brought back from the disabled list as a catcher and a DH in order to give Cust more at-bats.
Joe Blanton (6-4, 3.62 ERA) will look to pick up Oakland’s’ staff in Monday’s opener. He has been strong in his last three starts, going 2-1 and allowing four runs in 23 1-3 innings - including a 1-0 three-hitter against Minnesota on June 2.
Blanton, who has never faced the Reds, gave up three runs in seven innings of Wednesday’s 7-3 win in Houston despite allowing six doubles. He is 2-2 in six starts at home, but owns a 1.91 ERA in those outings.
Cincinnati will counter with Kyle Lohse (3-8, 4.30), who has posted a 2.37 ERA in alternating wins and losses in his last four outings after dropping six straight starts. He gave up four runs in seven innings of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Lohse has had a tough time on the road this season, going 2-5 with a 5.21 ERA in eight starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in six career starts against the A’s.