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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 24th (All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (13-8) at Houston Astros (7-15), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.65) Houston - Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.04)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir tries to get the Oakland Athletics back into the win column on Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Kazmir is off to a 2-0 start, but hasn't received a decision in his last two outings and was actually in line for a loss on Saturday against the Astros before the A's rallied for three in the ninth to win, 4-3.
The left-hander, who is pitching to a 1.65 ERA on the year, gave up three runs (2 earned) and six hits in eight innings of that one, while striking out five with a pair of walks.
"It's great, early in the year, to be going deep in the games and still have quality pitches from my first pitch to my last pitch," said Kazmir. "It's huge, and to be able to get quick outs like that and reduce my pitch count each inning was important."
Kazmir is 1-1 in four starts versus the Astros with a 4.13 ERA.
Oakland heads into Houston riding a season-worst three-game losing streak after getting swept by the Texas Rangers. The A's were blanked in the finale of the three-game affair in Oakland, 3-0, on Wednesday.
"They just beat us," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Not much you can say about that. They played better than we did and deserved to win. We just have to put it past us and get on the road and get a win under our belt and start rolling again."
Sonny Gray (3-1) allowed three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and four walks over seven innings. The right-hander also had a six-game winning streak dating back to last season snapped.
"I felt like I was throwing the ball where I wanted to," Gray said. "Overall, I felt pretty good today. It was just a tough day at the park."
Houston, meanwhile, was denied a series sweep on Wednesday, as Kyle Seager's three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning carried the Seattle Mariners to a 5-3 win.
"The most demoralizing win in baseball is a late-inning loss when you have the game won. Since I've been here, we have had our share of them," said Astros manager Bo Porter.
Hoping to get the Astros back on track Thursday will be lefty Brett Oberholtzer, who is 0-3 with a 3.04 ERA. Oberholtzer didn't get a decision on Saturday in Oakland, but was tremendous over 5 2/3 innings, as he allowed just a run and eight hits. He was in line for the win in that one, before an A's rally in the ninth.
Oberholtzer has faced the A's twice and is 0-1 with a 1.54 ERA.
"They play together and have great team camaraderie," Oberholtzer said of Oakland. "For me, I know I was under the weather [in the last game], but it's the same motto, to go out there and throw strikes and pound the zone and try to create weak contact and get outs."
Oakland swept the Astros last weekend, and in 2013, they dominated Houston, winning 15 of 19 meetings between the two teams. In fact, the A's are 23-5 against the Astros all-time.
04/24 10:26:54 ET
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