Athletics-Blue Jays Preview

The Associated Press

A former top prospect with a sinking 94-mph fastball and a unique knuckle-curveball, surprising Drew Pomeranz appears to have found a comfort zone with the Oakland Athletics.

As he looks to keep his scoreless streak alive, Pomeranz will face a difficult road test Sunday when he tries to keep the high-scoring Toronto Blue Jays from a season-high sixth straight victory.

After going 4-14 with a 5.40 ERA in 30 starts for Colorado from 2011-13, Pomeranz (4-1, 0.94 ERA) has been spotless since replacing the ineffective Dan Straily in Oakland's rotation this season.

The 2010 first-round draft pick has allowed eight hits with 16 strikeouts over 15 scoreless innings to win each of his first three starts. The left-hander gave up three hits over five innings in a 3-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Tuesday for his first road win since 2012.

Pomeranz has received a total of 11 runs of support while holding batters to a .157 average since joining the rotation, and Oakland has shut out all three opponents.

"My three starts have been a great team effort," he said. "We scored a lot of runs and the bullpen shut them down."

Now Pomeranz hopes to keep putting up zeros while helping the A's (30-19) avoid their season-worst fourth straight defeat following an 11-1 stretch.

That isn't likely to be easy against a Toronto team that leads the majors with 69 homers and ranks near the top with 243 runs. The Blue Jays (28-22) have scored 28 times with 10 home runs during their five-game win streak.

Brett Lawrie hit his ninth home run and Melky Cabrera had two hits and two RBIs in Saturday's 5-2 victory. Jose Reyes is batting .323 during a seven-game hitting streak, while Adam Lind has gone 7 for 16 in his last four.

The Blue Jays will give the ball to J.A. Happ (3-1, 4.37) as they try to sweep Oakland in a series of at least three games for the first time since taking four straight at home in August 2008.

Toronto starting pitchers have a 2.85 ERA while the team has won 10 of 12. The Blue Jays are atop the AL East this late into a season for the first time since July 6, 2000.

Happ has alternated good and bad performances in four starts since joining the rotation. He won despite a subpar outing Tuesday, giving up four runs and seven hits over five-plus innings in a 7-4 victory at Boston.

The left-hander was dominant in his only career start against Oakland despite not getting a decision, surrendering one run and three hits over seven innings in a 5-1 loss Aug. 12.

Although the A's lead the league with 247 runs, the AL West leaders have totaled 12 while hitting .175 in their last five games. Yoenis Cespedes went 3 for 4 with his eighth home run Saturday, but the rest of the team totaled three hits.

"I think we were just getting frustrated getting shut down offensively, again," first baseman Brandon Moss told the team's official website.

While Moss is batting .368 with five homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games, many Oakland hitters are scuffling during the team's nine-game road trip which ends Sunday. Josh Reddick has gone 5 for 30, Coco Crisp is 5 for 26 and Alberto Callaspo and Jed Lowrie are each 3 for 18.

John Jaso is 4 for 21 in that span but expected to miss a third straight game with a back injury.

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