American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, July 5th (All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (50-36) at Kansas City Royals (40-42), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Tommy Milone (7-7, 4.17) Kansas City - Wade Davis (4-6, 5.55)
(Sports Network) - Oakland's Tommy Milone snapped a four-start winless drought last time out, but probably won't be looking to duplicate much from that less- than-stellar outing.
Milone hopes to pitch the Athletics to a seventh victory in nine games on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals.
Milone had gone 0-2 since a win at Milwaukee on June 3 before getting credited with a 7-5 victory over St. Louis on Sunday. The left-hander matched a career high by giving up three home runs, charged with five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and two walks in total over six innings.
Still, Milone evened his season record at 7-7 through 17 starts with a 4.17 earned run average.
"He battled for that win today," A's shortstop Jed Lowrie said of Milone. "He bulldogged through that game. He deserved it."
The 26-year-old is 2-1 lifetime versus the Royals with a 1.29 ERA in three meetings, including a win at home on May 18. Milone scattered a run, five hits and three walks over six innings in that one.
The A's are coming off a 6-2 homestand and took two of three from the Chicago Cubs after winning Thursday's finale by a slim 1-0 margin to maintain a half- game edge over Texas for first place in the AL West.
Derek Norris scored the only run of the game on a passed ball in the seventh inning and the catcher had a first-hand view of Oakland's solid performance on the mound. It started with Dan Straily, who spun seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball to push his winning streak to a career-high four straight games.
Straily was recalled from the minors on Thursday for his fourth stint with the club.
"After being called back up you want to go out there and do it every time," said Straily. "Quality starts every single time."
Oakland closer Grant Balfour gave up the only other Cubs hit and had two men on with two outs in the ninth following an error. However, he got Alfonso Soriano to fly out to end the game and move to a perfect 21-for-21 in save chances.
Balfour has also converted 39 straight save chances dating back to last season, one shy of Dennis Eckersley's club record set from Sept. 15, 1991-Aug. 7, 1992.
Wade Davis will try to put his last start far behind him as he toes the rubber tonight for Kansas City.
Davis recorded just three outs on Saturday in Minnesota, getting pulled after facing three batters in the second frame. Davis hurled 69 pitches in his shortest career start, hammered for six runs on five hits and five walks.
The right-hander had allowed two earned runs or fewer in four starts prior to the meeting with the Twins, but fell to 4-6 on the year with a 5.55 ERA in 16 starts.
"Just off. No release point at all," Davis admitted. "I was trying to throw it down the middle of the plate and it was running off. Just one that I'm going to forget, real quick."
Davis, 27, will face the A's for the first time this season and is 2-1 against them with a 5.85 ERA in six previous meetings, including three starts.
Kansas City has won two straight for the first time since June 16-17 and needed to rally for Thursday's 10-7 win over Cleveland.
Lorenzo Cain hit a grand slam and Eric Hosmer connected on a two-run shot in the game to get the offense going before a pinch-hitting Salvador Perez hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to put Kansas City ahead for good.
The Royals scored 10 runs on just six hits.
Hosmer is looking to stay hot as he has homered in two straight games and has hit seven in his past 12 games. He had only one homer on the season before that stretch.
The A's swept a three-game series at home versus the Royals from May 17-19.
07/05 10:30:28 ET