The Oakland Athletics got back on track with a series win over an AL East opponent, and now they try to keep it going against another.
The Athletics go for their third straight victory as they meet the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series on Monday at McAfee Coliseum.
Oakland (42-39) dropped seven of eight games to open its just-completed 10-game road trip, but won the final two—including an 11-5 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday. After being held to one run in the opener with the Yankees, the Athletics scored 18 runs in the final two contests.
They recorded 16 hits Sunday, with each starter hitting safely and scoring one run. Jack Cust went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBIs, and is batting .418 (23-for-55) with six homers over the last 14 games.
Dan Haren won his career-best 10th straight decision on the same day he was chosen as Oakland’s lone All-Star. He helped the A’s improve to 14-9 against AL East opponents.
“It wasn’t the best road trip but it was a great finish,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Two out of three against the Yankees in New York, anybody I think would take that.”
The A’s are now opening a seven-game homestand, where they have won five of their last six meetings with Toronto (39-42). Oakland took six of 10 overall matchups between the teams in 2006, and faces a Blue Jays’ squad that is 2-8 versus AL West opponents.
Toronto has been outscored 23-12 during a four-game skid and coming off a weekend sweep by the Seattle Mariners, capped by a 2-1 defeat on Sunday. Frank Thomas hit his 501st career home run, but the Blue Jays fell to 15-24 on the road.
This will be Thomas’ first game back at Oakland since rejuvenating his career with the Athletics last season with 39 homers and 114 RBIs while staying healthy for the first time since 2003.
Blue Jays pitchers have a 6.19 ERA during the current losing streak and may find it tough to improve that mark after placing right-hander A.J. Burnett on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to June 28, with a right shoulder strain.
The Blue Jays hope for a better showing as Josh Towers (3-5, 5.59 ERA) takes the mound. The right-hander allowed four runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-4 win over Minnesota on Wednesday. He didn’t issue a walk and struck out two in his first win since rejoining the rotation on June 11.
“I just want to get consistent,” Towers told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “I want my body to feel right and know what it’s doing. I just want to give the team an opportunity to win, and I hadn’t been doing that for a while.”
Towers is 5-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 career games versus the Athletics, but 0-2 with an 8.03 ERA in his last three starts against them. Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez, who had three RBIs Sunday, is 11-for-21 (.524) with three homers and two doubles lifetime versus Towers.
Bobby Crosby is 7-for-12 with a homer and a double against the right-hander. The A’s will hand the ball to Lenny DiNardo (3-4, 2.47), who is coming off his second win since joining the starting rotation on May 29.
The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits over five innings in a 13-7 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday. He is 0-1 with a 9.60 ERA in eight career games, including one start, versus the Blue Jays—his most appearances versus any opponent—allowing them to hit .373.
Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill is 5-for-6 with a homer and three doubles versus DiNardo.
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