Padres-Athletics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 15, 2012
The Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres are both feeling confident after sweeping their respective series this week. Each club will be looking for a fourth consecutive victory Friday night when they meet in Oakland for the first time since 2000. After being swept in Arizona last weekend, Oakland (29-35) scored 26 runs in a three-game sweep of Colorado at Coors Field. The offensive performance was certainly welcome for the Athletics, who rank near the bottom of the majors in runs (237) and batting average (.224). Oakland has not won four in a row since Sept 1-4. "Hopefully we can take the momentum gained and continue doing this at home," right fielder Josh Reddick told the Athletics' official website. "I think it was a good booster." Reddick and Brandon Moss each homered and had three hits in Thursday's 8-2 win over the Rockies. Signed to a minor league contract by Oakland in December, Moss is 8 for 26 with five home runs and nine RBIs in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. "He's been a nice acquisition for us,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. Melvin hopes Cuban rookie Yoenis Cespedes can at least serve as the designated hitter this weekend after he re-aggravated a hamstring injury during Wednesday's 10-8 victory - his first game back after missing four with the same injury. "I think we've been pretty careful with him," Melvin said of Cespedes, who is batting .273 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 36 games. With or without the talented outfielder, Oakland could face a serious challenge versus a San Diego rotation that performed strongly during this week's sweep of Seattle. After starters Clayton Richard, Jason Marquis and Edinson Volquez combined to yield two runs at Safeco Field, Anthony Bass (2-6, 4.38) hopes for an efficient effort when he faces Oakland for the first time in the opener of this series. The right-hander has failed to complete six innings in any of his last four starts, going 0-2 with an 8.14 ERA during that span. He gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-5 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday. Opponents are batting .472 (17 for 36) against Bass in the sixth inning this season, and .214 off him in all other innings. "It always seems like it happens in the sixth inning for some reason," Bass told the Padres' official website. "It's like those first five innings, I feel like I can pitch with the best of them." Like Oakland, San Diego (23-41) ranks near the bottom of the majors in both runs (217) and batting average (.231), but it has scored at least five runs in seven of its last nine games, including Thursday's 6-2 win. Chris Denorfia was one of three Padres with two hits and one RBI apiece as they won their fifth consecutive interleague game. "Let's keep it going," reliever Luke Gregerson said. Denorfia is batting .423 (11 for 26) in his last eight games. Trying to win four in a row overall for the first time since a five-game run Aug. 18-23, the Padres get their first look at Oakland's Travis Blackley (0-2, 4.97) on Friday. The left-hander has lasted 4 2-3 innings in each of his two starts - both losses. He allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in Sunday's 4-3 defeat at Arizona. The A's swept three games from San Diego the last time the Padres visited Oakland, from June 5-7, 2000.
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