The Oakland Athletics have endured some extraordinary schedule changes through the first two cities of their current road trip, but they seem to be arriving in Detroit heading in the right direction.
After a rare Sunday off, the A’s look to win three straight games for the first time in nearly three months when they open a three-game series against the Tigers Monday.
Oakland’s scheduled nine-game road trip began Tuesday in Kansas City with a 5-2 loss. Rain at Kaufman Stadium caused a postponement of Wednesday’s game, and the A’s were swept by the Royals in Thursday’s makeup doubleheader.
Things improved for Oakland (65-77) in Baltimore, but its series there was cut short.
After defeating the Orioles 11-2 on Friday, the A’s won Saturday night 5-1— a game that was supposed to be the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader, but the afternoon contest was wiped out because of rain by Tropical Storm Hanna. The first game of the doubleheader, originally scheduled Sunday, was moved because the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens are playing at home, and the Orioles did not want to inconvenience fans since the stadiums share parking lots.
“Our schedule recently has just been kind of hectic,” Jack Cust told the A’s official Web site. “Doubleheader in Kansas City, the rain in Kansas City, the rain (in Baltimore).”
Oakland made the most of its time in Baltimore, though, by winning back-to-back games in a single series for the first time since the All-Star break. The A’s now try and win three straight games for the first time since winning four in a row June 13-17.
“Hopefully we’re on the right foot now,” said Greg Smith, Saturday’s winning pitcher.
The Tigers (69-74) also appear to be getting things turned around after they beat Minnesota 7-5 on Sunday to win their second straight after losing nine of their previous 12. Detroit has not won three consecutive games since winning four in a row July 20-23.
Magglio Ordonez hit his 18th homer of the season Sunday, and is batting .435 (20-for-46) with three home runs and 12 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak. He is 13-for-28 (.464) with three homers and 13 RBIs in seven home games against Oakland since the start of last season.
Detroit’s Zach Miner (8-4, 3.72 ERA) takes the ball in the series opener looking to bounce back from a disappointing outing.
Miner gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 9-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, but did not factor in the decision. The right-hander had allowed one run over 13 innings in winning his previous two starts, and since joining Detroit’s starting rotation on July 21, Miner is 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA in nine outings.
In his only outing against the A’s this season on June 3, Miner allowed a hit in two walks in 1 2-3 scoreless innings of relief.
The A’s counter with rookie Gio Gonzalez (1-3, 7.18), who makes his first career start against the Tigers.
Gonzalez allowed four runs and two hits—both homers—with three walks in four innings of a 5-2 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday, the third time in four starts he went fewer than five innings. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in those four starts since allowing one run in five innings of a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Aug. 12, his first career win.