Oakland (27-31) at Boston (31-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sat Jun 4, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Oakland Athletics surpassed the run total of their previous three games combined in their most recent contest, yet it still wasn’t enough to end their skid.

Facing AL ERA leader Josh Beckett(notes) may not be a cure for their offensive woes.

Oakland visits the Boston Red Sox on Saturday looking to avoid a fifth consecutive loss.

The A’s (27-31) lost their fourth straight Friday, 8-6 against Boston, after scoring only five runs total in their last three. Their four-run first inning staked them to an early lead, but the Red Sox (31-26) overcame the deficit by the third inning.

“It’s good to get some runs early,” said Josh Willingham(notes), who doubled twice. “But you have to give them credit, they came back.”

Oakland ranks near the bottom of the league in batting average, runs and home runs, which may be tough to overcome facing the Red Sox’s ace.

Beckett (4-2, 1.80 ERA) has won his last three starts against the A’s, striking out 21 in 19 2-3 innings with a 3.66 ERA during that span.

However, the right-hander is coming off his first loss since April 5 after allowing two runs through six innings Sunday in a 3-0 defeat at Detroit. It marked the most runs he’s allowed in six starts.

Beckett will attempt to shut down the Oakland offense, something most opposing pitchers have had success accomplishing. However, strong pitching has kept the A’s competitive.

The staff’s 3.08 ERA is among the league leaders.

“With the pitching that we have, we’re a tough team to beat when the offense is there,” manager Bob Geren said.

Trevor Cahill(notes) (6-3, 2.31) is the team’s ace and will oppose Beckett, though he hasn’t been pitching as well of late.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 3.51 ERA over his last four starts. Prior to that stretch, Cahill was 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA in eight starts while allowing 10 earned runs over 52 1-3 innings. He’s allowed 10 earned runs in 25 2-3 innings since.

Cahill surrendered four runs through 6 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Monday. He and Beckett have faced each other once before, with Beckett earning an 8-3 victory July 27, 2009.

Cahill beat the Red Sox with seven scoreless innings in his most recent start against them Sept. 10.

Boston will try to ride the momentum from ending a four-game losing streak, its longest since beginning the season 0-6.

Carl Crawford(notes) hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh to complete the comeback Friday. The Red Sox had lost four of their previous five games at Fenway Park.

Reliever Bobby Jenks(notes) earned the victory.

“The type of ball we were playing (early in the season) compared to now is just two different teams,” Jenks said. “Going out of spring training, this is what we were all expecting to start the year. It just showed up a little late but it’s here now.”

Crawford has a six-game hitting streak against the A’s dating back to last season when he was with Tampa Bay.

Despite Oakland’s anemic offense this season, the A’s have outscored Boston 14-13 in three meetings but have lost two of them.

The Red Sox have won four of the last five matchups at Fenway.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Cahill ChC vs. J. Beckett LAD
12-14 Record 13-7
4.16 ERA 2.89
147 K 175
82 BB 52
1.43 WHIP 1.03


Saturday, Jun 4