Hitters for the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays have to be eager for the finale of their four-game series Monday.
The visiting Athletics are set to face a rusty starter in J.A. Happ, while Oakland starter Dan Straily has lost a career-high four straight outings.
Powered by Josh Reddick’s five homers and eight RBIs in the first two games, Oakland (66-50) is hitting .328 with 24 runs in this series. The Athletics have taken two of three by limiting Toronto (54-63) to a .225 average and 15 runs.
Oakland, trailing Texas by one game in the AL West race, has to like its chances of capturing the set when it faces Happ (2-2, 5.84 ERA). The left-hander gave up seven runs over four-plus innings and did not receive a decision in a 9-7 loss at Seattle on Wednesday.
That was Happ’s first outing since suffering a skull fracture May 7 against Tampa Bay. He failed to record an out past the fourth inning for the third straight outing.
“It’s been a long road to get back but at the same time I felt ready to help us win,” said Happ, who has never started against Oakland.
Chris Young is the Athletics hitter Happ has faced the most, going 0 for 5.
Josh Johnson had been scheduled to pitch Monday but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons pushed him to Wednesday due to a sore forearm.
Straily (6-6, 4.41) has posted a 4.95 ERA during his losing streak. He gave up three runs over four innings of a 3-1 defeat to Cincinnati on Tuesday, the third consecutive outing he has failed to last five.
The right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays. One came this season as he yielded five runs over 4 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss July 30.
Jose Bautista homered off Straily in that contest and is 10 for 24 with three home runs in the season series.
The slugger has taken a back seat in this series to Reddick, who has gone 6 for 12 in the first three games thanks to his amazing display of power in the first two. He is 0 for 2 against Happ.
Alberto Callaspo hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning and Brandon Moss had a two-run homer as the A’s won 6-4 on Sunday to give manager Bob Melvin his 700th victory.
“We find a way to win the game, but it wasn’t pretty,” Melvin said.
Oakland played without catcher Derek Norris, who is nursing a sore back. Stephen Vogt replaced him Sunday.
“Every win is a huge win, especially from here on out,” Vogt said. “We’re battling.”
A’s outfielder Coco Crisp left in the eighth with a sore left wrist Sunday and is not expected to play in this game.