The Oakland Athletics hope a return to the Bay Area will help kick start their offense as they begin a six-game homestand with the first of three tests versus the slumping Cleveland Indians.
The A's just finished a six-game road trip with a 2-4 mark and managed just five runs in a three-game set with Kansas City.
Oakland did salvage the finale on Thursday behind prized rookie Dan Straily, who worked 6 1/3 shutout innings in just his third major league start. The Athletics also got solo home runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp in a 3-0 win over the Royals to avoid a sweep.
Straily (1-0) gave up just three hits while striking out two to pick up his first career win. Jemile Weeks knocked in a run and Derek Norris scored for the A's, who snapped a three-game skid. Grant Balfour picked up his ninth save of the season after retiring the side in order in the ninth.
The Indians, who are currently on a nine-game trek, come into the series in the midst of a spiral, having lost 16 of their past 20 games, including two of three in Anaheim to the Angels.
LA's Ervin Santana pitched seven strong innings and Mike Trout hit one of two homers off the former Fausto Carmona in his return to the majors as the Angels posted an 8-4 victory in the rubber match Wednesday night.
Carmona, who is now known as Roberto Hernandez, played the first six years of his career under a false identity, gave up 10 hits and eight runs -- five earned -- over six innings.
Shin-Soo Choo clubbed a three-run homer in the eighth inning for Cleveland, which has lost 12 of 13 overall on the road.
Hernandez was particularly ineffective in the second inning, allowing five runs.
"Again, we won the second half of the game, but that second inning killed us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I thought Hernandez did OK. Unfortunately, we didn't play good behind him."
Tommy Milone will take the hill for Oakland Friday with extended rest. The young left-hander has given up at least five runs in three straight starts, prompting the A's to skip his turn in the rotation to help battle fatigue. Milone, who has never faced the Tribe before, was originally scheduled to pitch last Saturday.
"It's a mental grind once you get to this time of the year," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told the team's website. "Tommy's last few games haven't been his best, but it really isn't about that. We've been looking to potentially do this for a while now."
Right-hander Zach McAllister, who has never pitched against the A's, will oppose Milone. McAllister surrendered just up two runs and three hits over a career-high eight innings in his last start, a 5-2 victory over Boston on Saturday.
The Indians took two of three over the Athletics in Oakland back in April.