Athletics welcome Reds to town for two games

The Oakland Athletics try to get themselves back into the win column on Tuesday when they begin a brief two-game set with the Cincinnati Reds at Coliseum.

Oakland had won 21 of 26 to move out in front of the American League West. However, the A's have now lost seven of 10 and have slipped a game back of the Texas Rangers in the division.

Oakland lost in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, as closer Grant Balfour gave up a game-winning three-run home run in the 10th inning to Seattle. The loss capped a brutal stretch for the A's that saw them play 30 games in 31 days, including 13 in a row before Monday's off-day.

"I think they might be a little bit tired right now, which probably is natural," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We've had some close games, and these guys have been in a lot of games. It taxes you. So this is going to be a good little opportunity to get some rest."

Cincinnati had also played 17 straight days before Monday's day of rest and capped the stretch with a 4-2 win over Arizona on Sunday. Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips each homered in the first inning of that one, while Mat Latos matched a career-high with 13 strikeouts to run his record to 7-1.

"(Latos) threw the ball great. He kept us in the game," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We scored early. We didn't score anymore. We still got to work on scoring some more and some add-on runs, but we hit the ball hard. We just didn't get much to show for it late. It got a little exciting at the end, but still counts as a victory."

Hoping for a similar effort on Tuesday, the Reds turn to righty Bronson Arroyo, who is 6-5 with a 3.13 ERA. Arroyo pitched well on Wednesday against Pittsburgh, but did not get a decision, as he allowed just a run in seven innings of a 2-1 win.

Arroyo has faced the A's six times and is 3-1 against them with a 3.96 ERA.

Oakland, meanwhile, will hand the ball to lefty Tommy Milone, who has lost his last two starts. Milone was rouged up in Texas on Wednesday to the tune of six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, as he fell to 6-7 on the year to go along with a 3.98 ERA.

"A little out of the ordinary for Tommy," Melvin aid. "Chris (Young) hits a big home run, and that's a big momentum shift, because it didn't look like Tommy had his best stuff. Then you try to go out and shut it down. Tommy has done that for us a bunch of times. It just didn't happen tonight."

Oakland and Cincinnati haven't met since the Reds swept a three-game set back in 2010.