Could the seventh time be the charm?
The Oakland Athletics are a perfect 6-for-6 against the Houston Astros so far this season, and the first-year AL West foes will square off again Friday at Minute Maid Park to open another three-game series.
"We have played them well. We need to continue to play well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You can't just throw your glove out there and think you're going to win. They've been swinging the bat a lot better, and they've made some personnel moves. They look to be a better team right now."
Toeing the rubber for the A's in Friday's series opener is Tommy Milone, who ended a personal five-game losing streak his last time out. The left-hander held Kansas City to only one run over six innings on Saturday. In fact, twice during his skid Milone was charged with a loss despite allowing zero earned runs.
"Losing five in a row is never a good thing, whether you pitch well or not," Milone said. "You want to win as a team. Losing is not fun."
Houston's starters are 0-6 with a 12.36 ERA against the A's this season, and that includes two starts that never made it through the first inning. Veteran lefty Erik Bedard will try to put an end to that disturbing trend. Bedard has allowed two runs or less in each of his last three starts but only has three no-decisions to show for it. He has not been able to pitch very deep into games, although Saturday at Pittsburgh he did last a season-high six innings.
The Astros are coming off a series win over Kansas City to start their eight- game homestand. On Wednesday, J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning to lead the way in a 3-1 victory. Starter Jordan Lyles tossed six innings of one-run ball.
Oakland had its five-game winning streak snapped in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Texas. The offense had trouble solving Rangers' 30-year-old rookie Ross Wolf, as they managed only four hits for the game. Starter Jarrod Parker gave up three runs in the first inning but did not allow a run after that.
"Obviously 3-of-3 is better than 2-of-3," Parker said. "And for us to be satisfied with (not getting the sweep) isn't something we want to do. We want to win as many games as we can."
Houston's only victory in 12 meetings all-time against the A's came on June 12, 2007.