(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics seek their first three-game winning
streak since late April on Sunday when they close out their three-game series
against the Kansas City Royals at the O.co Coliseum.
Oakland's pitching has been strong enough in the first two games of the series
to limit Kansas City to a mere 10 hits. Tommy Milone collected his first win
in over a month on Saturday after Brandon Moss tripled in the go-ahead run in
the sixth inning to help the A's take a 2-1 win.
"The bullpen has been rock solid, and there's a lot of pride down there,"
reliever Sean Doolittle said. "Once we get a lead, we want to keep them at
Kansas City's only run on Saturday was driven in by Billy Butler's bloop
single in the first inning.
Ervin Santana's bid for his 100th career win was derailed despite the righty
giving up only four hits and a pair of runs in seven frames. He fell to 14-6
lifetime against the A's.
Right-hander A.J. Griffin could provide just as much of a challenge for the
Royals considering he is coming off of a very impressive outing. Griffin
allowed only one run on six hits and struck out eight batters in Oakland's 5-1
win over Texas.
"He was terrific," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've seen him pitch a lot of
games in that fashion. Keeps the ball down, mixes his pitches on both sides of
the plate, slow curveball and his fastball plays better because of it. All
Griffin's strong showing against the Rangers improved him to 4-3 with a 3.48
ERA. He has never faced Kansas City before in his career.
Luis Mendoza will take the mound for the Royals hoping to build on his first
win of the year. The 29-year old righty allowed only three runs on six hits to
the Angels while also throwing a season-high 101 pitches.
"Every start I'm going to feel better and better and today I just felt great,"
Mendoza said. "My sinker was working good, down in the zone, and my teammates
backed me up with some runs, too. For a starting pitcher, that's great,
because you take the mound with more confidence."
A quality start by Mendoza might be necessary for Kansas City, which has lost
three of its last four games. Alex Gordon went 1-for-3 on Saturday to extend
his hitting streak to six games while Butler went 2-for-4 to raise his batting
average to .267.
Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar were both 0-for-4 at the plate with a
combined three strikeouts on Saturday. Eric Hosmer is in a 2-for-20 slump
during KC's current nine-game road trip
The Royals now enter Sunday trailing the Indians by three games for first
place in the AL Central.
The Sports Network