Interleague play continues to bring out the best in the Oakland Athletics.
The A’s look for a fifth consecutive home victory over an NL opponent in the finale of their brief set with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Oakland (45-34) lost seven of 10 and was coming off a 2-5 trip when it broke out for a 7-3 win over Cincinnati on Tuesday. Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer, catcher Stephen Vogt recorded his first career RBI and five relievers held the Reds (45-33) to four hits over 4 1-3 scoreless innings.
“That’s what we need, every guy on this team needs to contribute,” said Donaldson, who is batting .438 with two home runs and seven RBIs against NL opponents this season.
Oakland has won 15 of 20 interleague contests and has outscored its NL foes 47-25 while going 6-2 this season. The A’s, who face St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs on the homestand, have won 18 of 24 interleague games at the Coliseum.
Playing for the first time this season, Vogt came through with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, but is still 0 for 28 in 19 career games. Since 1990, the only longer hitless streak to open a career was 33 at-bats by Oakland’s Chris Carter in 2010.
Scheduled Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (5-6, 3.90 ERA) is 0-3 with a 4.02 ERA in his last five starts. Though the A’s are 0-5 in those games, the right-hander allowed two runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss at Texas on Thursday.
“He gave us 100 pitches and put us in a position where we were ahead, so you can’t ask for much more,” manager Bob Melvin told the Athletics’ official website.
Griffin has given up four home runs in three games to match the total he allowed in the previous five.
He’ll make his first start against Cincinnati (45-33), which recorded 10 hits and stranded 11 runners while losing for the fourth time in five contests.
Derrick Robinson had four hits and Joey Votto homered for the Reds, who chased starter Tommy Milone after 4 2-3 innings but did little against Oakland’s bullpen.
“Tough game,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We outhit them and we left a lot of men on base.”
Votto is batting .400 (14 for 35) with three homers and five RBIs in nine games, while Robinson has hit .346 in his last seven.
Teammate Jay Bruce hit .340 with eight homers in 11 games before he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Tuesday. He’s 4 for 32 without a home run and has fanned 13 times against AL opponents this season.
Homer Bailey (4-5, 3.75) takes the mound for the Reds after he allowed two runs and struck out eight but needed 113 pitches to get through six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
“I was only pitching with a fastball,” he said. “They hit a lot of foul balls, and that drove up the pitch count.”
The right-hander’s only appearance versus Oakland came during his rookie 2007 season, when he allowed a run and two hits in seven innings of a 5-2 victory at the Coliseum.
Cincinnati is without second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is on the paternity list and not expected to join the team until Friday at Texas.