The Oakland Athletics have been the hottest team in the American League the past 10 days or so and look to keep climbing up the AL West standings Wednesday when they visit the San Francisco Giants.
The Athletics won both games at home versus the defending World Series champion Giants to start the week and now head across the bay to AT&T Park for a pair of matchups.
Oakland took Monday's contest by a 4-1 score, then made it five straight wins with Tuesday's 6-3 triumph thanks to homers by Derek Norris and Adam Rosales. A's starting pitcher Jarrod Parker pitched pretty well, too, and limited the Giants to two runs and five hits through seven innings. He struck out four and permitted only one walk.
Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined to allow one run in two innings of relief, as Hunter Pence's solo homer in the top of the ninth made the score closer than it appeared.
"The starting pitcher was terrific, the bullpen came in and did the job and we got key hits," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Yoenis Cespedes had a double and a run scored and is batting .286 with two homers, seven RBI and seven runs during a 10-game hitting streak.
Melvin's club has won 10 of its last 11 games and sits 2 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers for the AL West lead. The Rangers have dropped three in a row and were off Tuesday. Texas will host the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight.
Tommy Milone will have the duty of keeping the Athletics on the winning path when he takes the mound Wednesday. Besides a rough inning in which Milone allowed five runs, he pitched well in last Friday's 6-5 win at Houston. Milone did not figure into the decision and yielded five runs and eight hits in seven innings with six K's and no walks.
Milone, a left-hander, is 1-0 in his last two starts since a personal five- game losing streak and will make an 11th start to the season tonight. He is 4-5 with a 3.80 ERA in the first 10 and has never faced the Giants. In five road assignments, Milone is just 1-3 with a 5.28 ERA.
San Francisco has dropped two in a row since winning back-to-back games and fell to 4-7 in its last 11 with Tuesday's defeat.
Pence tried to get a Giants rally started in the ninth with his solo home run and went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Marco Scutaro had two hits and a pair of runs scored for the Giants, who are even with Colorado at two games behind the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.
Brandon Crawford was 1-for-3 and has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games. He is batting .352 with eight runs and 10 RBI over that span.
Mike Kickham made his major league debut on the mound for San Francisco and lasted only 2 1/3 innings. He was reached for four runs and four hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
"I'm just very grateful for the opportunity and hopefully it goes better next time," the left-hander said.
Tim Lincecum looks to pitch both himself and San Francisco out of the loss column Wednesday and has dropped two straight and four of his last five decisions. In a 5-0 loss to the Rockies on Friday, Lincecum was reached for four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out eight in falling to 3-4 in 10 starts with a 4.75 earned run average.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has allowed 10 runs in his past two outings and the Giants have scored a total of two runs in that time. Lincecum has allowed at least four earned runs in six starts this season and is 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA in nine career starts against the Athletics.
San Francisco has won 11 of the previous 12 home meetings with Oakland and took four of six overall meetings with the A's in 2012.