(AP) — As the Oakland Athletics hope to string together another strong stretch on the mound, Jesse Chavez will try to continue his surprising season for the AL West leaders.
While the Athletics seek their seventh victory in nine games, the Miami Marlins look to turn things around at home with their ninth straight interleague win at Marlins Park on Friday night.
Since posting a 2.35 ERA during a five-game win streak, the MLB-best A’s (48-30) have allowed 36 hits and nine home runs with a 7.33 ERA over their last three contests.
They allowed 15 runs and 23 hits while splitting two against the New York Mets to open this eight-game trip, though Brad Mills provided a quality start in Wednesday’s 8-5 victory.
Oakland should feel good about getting another solid outing from Chavez (6-4, 2.71 ERA), who ranks in the AL’s top 10 in ERA after entering the season with only four career starts.
The right-hander, 1-1 with a 1.43 mark over his last three starts, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Boston on Saturday and wound up giving up three hits over seven in a 2-1, 10-inning victory.
In his only career start against the Marlins (39-40), he allowed six runs over six innings in a 9-0 road loss while with Toronto on June 24, 2012.
Chavez now faces a Miami team that has averaged 3.0 runs while dropping 11 of 16 at Marlins Park. The Marlins, who had put up 5.7 runs per game during a 20-7 home start, haven’t lost an interleague game there since Aug. 4, 2013.
Miami had three solo homers and just six other hits in Thursday’s 5-3, 14-inning loss at Philadelphia to end up with a split of the four-game set.
Giancarlo Stanton, who went 2 for 4 with his 21st home run, is the first Marlin to hit 20 or more home runs with 50 or more RBIs before the All-Star break since Mike Lowell in 2004. However, he’s 1 for 10 with seven strikeouts lifetime versus Oakland.
Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.59) may have to go deep into the contest after Miami used five relievers in Thursday’s marathon, but he’s surrendered 16 earned runs in 15 1-3 innings while going 0-2 over his last three outings.
The rookie right-hander hopes to bounce back from his worst performance, allowing seven runs over 3 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 11-5 home loss to the Mets.
“Being up here, you have to be consistent,” DeSclafani told MLB’s official website. “That’s pitch to pitch, locating all your pitches and keeping hitters off balance.”
It doesn’t get any easier against the A’s, who average a major league-best 5.10 runs and have won eight of their last 11 games.
Slugger Yoenis Cespedes is batting .359 with two homers and 12 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak. Coco Crisp, who went 3 for 5 with a home run Wednesday, has hit .382 over his last 22 contests.
“Coco’s our igniter,” said manager Bob Melvin, whose club is 17-8 in interleague games the past two seasons. “Usually when we’re playing well, he’s playing well.”
Derek Norris, hitting .302 with eight homers and 35 RBIs, is expected back after missing the past two games after he was hit in the head by a backswing Sunday.
Oakland, 4-5 versus the Marlins, make their first trip to Miami since 2003.
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