The Oakland Athletics eye their fifth straight win on Monday when they kick off a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at the Coliseum.
The A's return home tonight following a 5-4 road trip that culminated with a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. On Sunday, Coco Crisp smacked a three-run homer among his three hits and drove in a career-high five runs as Oakland blanked the Indians, 7-0.
"He's a guy who we rely on at the top of the order," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Crisp. "He creates havoc up there, and he also comes up big."
Jarrod Parker (8-7), who was 0-3 with a 5.71 earned run average in August coming in, spun eight innings of six-hit ball for Oakland, which had dropped seven of 10 before this current run.
Hoping to extend that streak tonight will be righty Brandon McCarthy, who is 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA. McCarthy lost to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, but pitched well, as he gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out four without walking a batter.
"These are the games that I think we've expected to win all year and been winning, and to give that up late like that is -- we need to do better than this," McCarthy said. "I'm not happy with myself, and there's a lot of things we could've done today to be better."
McCarthy has faced the Twins nine times (4 starts) and is 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Brian Duensing, who has surrendered nine runs in losing his last two starts. Duensing was hit hard by the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, as he surrendered five runs and eight hits in six innings, dropping him to 2-8, while raising his ERA to 4.69.
Oddly enough, in the first two innings of games, Duensing has a 9.56 ERA, far higher than his 3.47 ERA in all others.
"I don't know what the deal is with the first two innings," Duensing said. "It's kinda been like that for a little bit. That's been one of the frustrating parts. I feel like I'm really close to figuring it out, but I don't know if I'm too amped up coming out. The ball seems to be up in the zone."
Duensing gave up six runs in two innings of a loss to the A's back on July 15 and is 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in seven games (3 starts) against them.
Minnesota enters this series having lost five straight following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners that ended with a 5-1 loss on Sunday.
Samuel Deduno (4-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits with six walks and two strikeouts. Trevor Plouffe knocked in the only run of the game with a sacrifice fly for the Twins, who have dropped nine of 10.
The Twins haven't scored more than four runs in the past five games.
"A bad series here. We scored six runs in three days," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not good enough. They pitched well, but we sure missed out on a lot of opportunities."
Minnesota has split its six meetings with the A's this season after the teams went 4-4 against one another a year ago.