Oakland (44-46) at Minnesota (47-43)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Jul 14, 2007
  • TV: FSBA, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Positives have been hard to find lately for the Oakland Athletics. Joe Blanton’s last performance didn’t leave many good feelings either.

Blanton and the Athletics hope to snap a five-game losing streak Saturday night when they continue a four-game road series against the Minnesota Twins.

Already struggling to generate offense, the Athletics (44-46) ran into Minnesota ace Johan Santana on Friday and the two-time Cy Young winner was in top form, tossing seven scoreless innings to lead the Twins to a 5-3 victory.

Oakland was held off the scoreboard until it pushed across three runs in the ninth off Juan Rincon. The late rally wasn’t enough, though, as Joe Nathan got the final two outs for his 17th save.

Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer for the A’s, who have been outscored 29-9 during the five-game skid, matching a season high. They haven’t dropped six straight since losing seven in a row May 20-26, 2006.

Oakland is hitting .164 (26-for-158) during the losing streak while the rotation has posted a 7.12 ERA in that span.

“Until you start piling up wins, it’s going to be tough to go out there and play,” Chavez said. “No speech or one outing is going to beat wins. Until that happens, it’s going to be a long second half.”

A punchless offense has been an issue all season for Oakland, which ranks 13th in the AL with 385 runs scored. The A’s are hitting a league-worst .237 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s been a combination of getting behind early and the offense not really taking off,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Hopefully what we did late will catapult us into some offense here.”

Blanton (8-5, 3.28 ERA) has pitched very well for the A’s, but he is coming one of his worst starts of the season.

The right-hander allowed six runs and a career-high 12 hits in six-plus innings Sunday in a 7-3 loss to Seattle. Blanton’s outing was cut short when he was ejected in the seventh inning after shoving Ichiro Suzuki while trying to retrieve a ball near the opposing dugout. The incident caused both benches to empty.

“I was just going after the ball,” said Blanton, who had his three-game winning streak snapped. “They had a lot of guys standing around who had scored and were on deck. I hit somebody and I’m not even sure what happened after that. I didn’t think I did anything wrong.”

Blanton turned in one of the finest performances of his career in a 1-0 home win over the Twins on June 2. He tossed a three-hitter with no walks and six strikeouts in his fifth complete game and second shutout.

Last season, Blanton was hit hard twice at the Metrodome, going 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA.

The Twins (47-43), winners of three straight at home, can match a season high by going five games over .500 with a victory.

Carlos Silva (6-10, 4.58) looks to rebound after struggling in his final three starts before the All-Star break. He went 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA in those three outings, giving up five home runs in 17 1-3 innings. Silva allowed six runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in five innings Sunday in a 6-3 loss to the White Sox.

The right-hander had one of his best starts of the season at Oakland on June 2 when he gave up one run and five hits in eight innings, but was outdueled by Blanton in the loss.

Silva is 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in seven career starts against the A’s.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Blanton LAA vs. C. Silva NYY
14-10 Record 13-14
3.95 ERA 4.19
140 K 89
40 BB 36
1.22 WHIP 1.31

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 14