Athletics-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

The Oakland Athletics' improved play outside the Bay Area has helped them reach their high-water mark of the season.

Another game visiting the slumping Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night could further aid their push for the AL West lead.

Since dropping a season-worst five consecutive road games, the A's (35-24) are 8-3 outside Oakland following Monday's 10-2 victory. It was Oakland's fourth consecutive victory as it played in Miller Park for the first time.

The A's starters have a 2.66 ERA while winning 15 of 17 to help lift the team a season-best 11 games above .500 and within 1 1/2 games of division-leading Texas.

A.J. Griffin (5-4, 4.04 ERA) will try to keep the pressure on the Rangers. Oakland had won the right-hander's previous three starts - and six in a row overall - before a 5-2 loss at San Francisco on Thursday when Griffin yielded four runs in 5 2-3 innings.

"It was one of his better outings of the year," catcher Derek Norris told the A's official website.

Griffin, though, could fare better against a Milwaukee team which has lost five straight at home for the third time this year and eight of 10 overall. The Brewers' last six-game skid at Miller Park was Aug. 30-Sept. 10, 2011.

One positive Monday was Rickie Weeks going 2 for 3 with a home run and a triple. The struggling second baseman, batting .192, nearly had a two-homer game before a video review in the seventh overturned the call.

Perhaps the Brewers calling up second baseman Scooter Gennett from Triple-A Nashville on Monday and manager Ron Roenicke mentioning a platoon system got Weeks' attention.

"It was nice to see him swinging it well. Hopefully that continues,'' Roenicke said.

Milwaukee (21-35) also made a trade Monday, acquiring third baseman Juan Francisco from Atlanta for minor league pitcher Tom Keeling. Francisco, who hit .241 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 35 games for the Braves, is expected to join the team Tuesday.

Jonathan Lucroy, who had his eight-game hitting streak snapped Monday, will likely be behind the plate as Kyle Lohse (1-6, 4.37) tries to avoid losing a career high-tying sixth consecutive decision.

The veteran right-hander has one of the majors' lowest run-support averages (2.56) - it's 1.85 at home - but he didn't help himself in Thursday's 8-6 loss at Minnesota, permitting a season-worst six runs in a season-low 4 2-3 innings.

Lohse was also tagged for a career-high four homers in his first start since missing a turn due to elbow discomfort.

"Physically, I wasn't having the pain in the elbow where I had it before. I just didn't locate the ball," he told the Brewers' official website. "... A guy like me, I've got to locate, change speeds, and I didn't do a very good job."

Lohse hasn't been very good against Oakland, going 1-3 with a 5.54 ERA in seven starts. The last one was in 2007 while with Cincinnati.

Coco Crisp, who had four of Oakland's season-high 19 hits Monday, including his 10th career leadoff homer, has faced Lohse more than twice as much any other A's player. He's 9 for 35 in that matchup.

Oakland has won four straight over Milwaukee.

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