Yankees-Athletics Preview

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The only blemish during Oakland's hot streak was a tough day at the plate the last time Kendall Graveman took the mound for the Athletics.

Their offense has picked up since, leaving the onus on Graveman to recapture the form that helped him shut down the New York Yankees last month.

Oakland looks to keep rolling by winning a fifth straight game in the opener of a four-game set with the visiting Yankees on Thursday night.

The A's (19-22) suddenly have caught fire, winning five of six while scoring at least six runs four times in that stretch. They're coming off a three-game sweep of Texas after Khris Davis launched a walkoff grand slam for his third homer of the game in Tuesday's 8-5 win before connecting for a solo shot in an 8-1 victory Wednesday.

Danny Valencia, who had his own three-homer game in Sunday's win at Tampa Bay, went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and is batting .455 with six homers in nine games since coming off the disabled list.

"We've been fortunate enough to hit the ball hard when we get a pitch to hit," Valencia said. "It's been a lot of fun. The middle of the order is supposed to do some damage and right now we're doing it."

Oakland lost nine of 10 prior to its hot stretch, with starting pitchers posting a 9.00 ERA in that span. Starters have a 3.68 ERA over the last six.

"A lot of things are going right," manager Bob Melvin said. "The rotation is suddenly getting us deep into games and we've been able to sustain the momentum."

The A's lineup took a day off Saturday, though, finishing with only two hits in a 6-0 loss to Tampa. Graveman (1-5, 5.84 ERA) wasn't exactly great on the mound, either, giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Graveman had a 2.04 ERA through his first three starts but has posted a 9.31 mark while losing the four since. He's allowed eight homers in that stretch, including one Saturday when he had his second-longest outing during his skid.

"I thought he was better than his last several times out, for sure," Melvin said.

The right-hander's last good start came against the Yankees on April 20, when he gave up one run and three hits while striking out a career-high eight in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-2 win.

New York (17-22), which was swept in that three-game series, hopes for a better result this time around against Graveman and the A's after beating Arizona 4-2 on Wednesday to salvage the finale of a three-game series. Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Yankees, who had dropped nine of 10 on the road.

Ivan Nova has been good during his return to the rotation, and he'll get the ball again in this one.

Nova (2-1, 3.70) has given up two runs - both on solo homers - and 10 hits in 10 1/3 innings over two starts and beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Saturday, leaving the bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to finish the job.

"They're strikeout machines," Nova said. "It's special to have those guys behind us."

The right-hander threw a perfect inning of relief against the A's on April 20, his first appearance against them since posting a 4.50 ERA in three starts in 2012. Billy Butler is 5 for 10 off Nova, and Josh Reddick is 4 for 11 in their matchups.

Alex Rodriguez is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, but his strained right hamstring will keep him on the DL a little while longer.