The Oakland Athletics’ season-worst losing streak is over.
Perhaps they can put up enough runs to help Tommy Milone end the worst stretch of his career.
The hard-luck left-hander will try to avoid a fifth straight losing start Sunday when the A’s and Seattle Mariners complete their series at Safeco Field.
After being held to 11 runs during its five-game skid, Oakland (19-19) got back on track with Saturday’s 4-3 victory.
The A’s lead the majors with 186 runs, but they’ve plated five total in Milone’s last five starts after scoring 28 in his first three.
“You just have to deal with situations like this as a pitcher because you can’t control them,” said Milone (3-4, 3.13 ERA), who went seven innings and didn’t give up an earned run in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at Cleveland. “Obviously, we want to win and I want to win, but my goal is to keep the team in every game that I’m out there. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
The A’s have won Milone’s last five starts against Seattle (17-20) after he threw seven innings of two-run ball in a 6-2 victory in Oakland on April 3.
Sunday’s starter Joe Saunders (2-4, 6.15) walked a season-high four and lasted just four innings in that contest, his Mariners debut.
The veteran left-hander is coming off another rough outing outside Seattle, surrendering seven runs in last Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Toronto. Saunders is 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA in four road starts compared to 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA in three at Safeco Field.
“I just think it’s somewhat of a fluke thing right now,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s gained a little bit of momentum and we’ve got to stop it.”
Saunders, just the 10th Mariner to allow two earned runs or fewer in his first three home starts of the season, also needs to stop giving up home runs. He’s been tagged for six in his last four outings after not giving up any in his first three.
A’s center fielder Yoenis Cespedes the team leader with six homers, is 1 for 3 with a home run off Saunders. Cespedes, though, has no hits in his last 15 at-bats.
Mariners left fielder Jason Bay is mired in an 0-for-11 skid after grounding out as a pinch-hitter Saturday, but he’ll likely be in Sunday’s lineup after Raul Ibanez got the nod from Wedge the previous two games. He went a combined 2 for 6 with a homer and three RBIs.
Bay is hitless in six at-bats against Milone.
A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie who went 2 for 2 with two doubles off Saunders on April 3, leads the team with 43 hits after recording his seventh three-hit game, which is tied for the most in the majors.
Oakland has won nine of 13 in Seattle after ending its season-worst five-game road skid.