Padres-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

It's been eight years since the Oakland Athletics have reeled off six consecutive interleague wins in one season.

That could change as they conclude their series against the visiting San Diego Padres.

Oakland tries to extend its season-best five-game run Sunday when it goes for a seventh straight home win over the Padres.

Since averaging 4.3 runs while opening 1-5 against the NL this season, the A's (31-35) are scoring 8.4 runs per game and batting .307 with 12 homers during their winning streak - all in interleague play.

Oakland has scored 16 times on 19 hits in this series following Saturday's 6-4 victory.

"We're starting to get a little character in here,'' said Jonny Gomes, whose go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh snapped his 0-for-34 skid as a pinch hitter. "It's a nice situation.''

Oakland's last six-game winning streak was June 15-21, 2011.

The A's haven't posted six consecutive interleague wins in one season since June 7-13, 2004. However, they've won five of six overall from San Diego and are undefeated at home in this series since an 8-4 loss July 1, 1998.

The Padres (23-43), meanwhile, have fallen to 9-23 away from home after taking three at Seattle - their first sweep this season - heading into this three-game set.

"It's been like that all year,'' first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "There's no quitting in us. We're going to keep fighting but it's definitely something I've never gone through."

San Diego will try to salvage the finale with Clayton Richard (3-7, 4.30 ERA) looking to build on his first road win since July 4.

After going 0-4 with a 6.57 ERA in his first six starts outside San Diego this season, the left-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball in Tuesday's 5-4 victory over the Mariners.

"It seems like it's been a while," Richard told the Padres' official website following his first win in five starts.

The southpaw will make his third appearance, and second start, against Oakland. Richard gave up five runs over 5 1-3 innings and three homers in a 2009 start for the White Sox.

The A's will counter with Bartolo Colon (6-6, 4.21). The right-hander is trying to win a third consecutive start for the first time since a four-start stretch May 30-July 2, 2011.

In his last outing, Colon threw 41 first-inning pitches and allowed four runs, but he settled down as Oakland ended its three-game skid with Tuesday's 8-5 victory at Colorado.

"As a veteran guy does, he figured out a way to give us five innings," manager Bob Melvin said. "... And we rewarded him with a win.''

Colon has a 6.30 ERA but has won both of his interleague starts in 2012.

He's 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against the Padres, but hasn't faced them since 2006 while with the Angels.

Padres slugger Carlos Quentin, 3 for 3 with a double off Colon, is batting .417 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 15 games this season after hitting a two-run shot Saturday.

San Diego outfielder Mark Kotsay, who spent 2004-07 with Oakland, is batting .349 (15 for 43) during a 13-game hitting streak against the A's. He has three hits in 20 at-bats versus Colon.

Melvin will likely continue to rest Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hamstring) until after Monday's off day.

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