The Oakland Athletics return home after a tough road trip, but their struggling offense hasn’t fared much better at the Coliseum recently.
The Athletics look for their fifth win in six games this season against the Kansas City Royals when the teams open a three-game series Monday night.
Oakland (57-73) settled for a split of its four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels with a 9-1 loss Sunday and completed its trip 2-5.
The Athletics scored three or fewer runs five times on the trip, which started with three straight losses to Seattle during which they totaled only six runs.
Manager Bob Geren was focused on the positives, however, citing the performance of his young starters as the rotation went 1-3 with a very respectable 3.76 ERA.
“The record on the road trip is not what we want, but we were in every game we were in,” Geren told the A’s official Web site. “I think we’re playing some good baseball. The idea that we’re right there in every game is encouraging, especially for our young pitchers.”
Geren’s team plays its next seven games at home, where the A’s have lost six of 10 and been held to less than four runs in seven of the last eight.
Kurt Suzuki(notes), who was 4 for 12 in the first three games against the Angels before having Sunday off, is looking to improve on a particularly frustrating month at home. He batted .250 in 14 games at the Coliseum in August, but is 7 for 19 with two doubles and a home run against Kansas City in 2009.
Oakland has won both home games this year against the Royals, outscoring them 19-5.
“This one’s a lot of luck, a complete-team effort,” Greinke said. “Today, everyone just played well behind me.”
The Royals are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since July 27 and 28 at Baltimore.
The right-hander is winless in his last six outings - all losses for Kansas City. He allowed four runs while striking out six in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.
Hochevar is 0-3 with an 11.85 ERA in three starts against the Athletics, allowing 12 runs and 14 hits over nine innings in two outings this year.
He gave up four runs in five innings of a 5-3 defeat to Seattle on Wednesday, striking out seven.
The left-hander allowed four runs and two hits in four innings of a 5-2 loss to the Royals last season in his only start against them.