In his return to his native area, Morrow will try to extend his career-best win streak to five while Braden will attempt to earn his fourth win in five starts Tuesday night.
Morrow (9-6, 4.45 ERA) finished one out shy of a no-hitter Aug. 8 and struck out 17 on 137 pitches during a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay. In response to that effort, Blue Jays (63-55) manager Cito Gaston skipped the right-hander’s scheduled start.
“I was drained. After the game, I had a tough time sleeping that night just based on my mind racing and everything else,” Morrow told the team’s website. “I’ve been feeling pretty good for the last couple days. It’s nice to have that time off.”
Morrow, who has a 2.96 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 10 walks over his last four starts, will try to follow another one-hitter from Monday’s series opener. Shaun Marcum(notes) allowed only Conor Jackson’s(notes) home run in a 3-1 victory, the team’s 22nd in 34 games.
Morrow, a Santa Rosa, Calif., native who also pitched at Cal, will try to follow by improving to 4-0 all-time against the A’s (57-60). He allowed two runs over six innings in a 10-2 home victory April 30, and three runs and two hits over 6 1-3 innings in his only previous start in Oakland on Sept. 21, 2008, while not receiving a decision for Seattle.
Braden (7-8, 3.56), meanwhile, will try to help his team avoid matching its longest losing streak of the season. The A’s haven’t dropped five in a row since May 12-16.
The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA since being activated from the disabled list July 20. He’s also recorded two complete games in his last three outings, including Wednesday’s 5-1 win at Seattle.
Braden gave up four hits and two walks while striking out six in that victory, his third since throwing the 19th perfect game in major league history May 9 against Tampa Bay. He followed that outing by dropping five consecutive decisions before going on the DL with soreness in his pitching elbow.
“He’s just sharp mentally and physically right now,” manager Bob Geren said.
Braden is facing the Blue Jays for the first time this season and is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against them. He won his previous matchup at home on July 31, 2009, despite allowing five runs over 6 2-3 innings.
This time, he’ll have to contend with a red-hot Jose Bautista(notes), who homered for 11th time in 21 games Monday. The major league’s home run leader (37) is 2 for 6 against Braden but has never taken the left-hander deep.
Bautista has homered in 12 of the Blue Jays’ past 13 series.