Diamondbacks’ Greinke could be tough to beat in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. — Zack Greinke returns to the site of past success Sunday afternoon when he attempts to snap out of a road slump in the finale of a three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics.

The teams have split two well-pitched games to open the series, with Arizona’s Patrick Corbin shutting down the A’s 7-1 on Friday night before Oakland’s Daniel Mengden went the distance in a 3-0, get-even blanking of the Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon.

If the Diamondbacks, who have lost eight of nine, are to win their first series since May 4-6 against the Houston Astros, Greinke is going to have to do something he hasn’t done all season — pitch well on the road.

He’s 1-3 with a 6.94 ERA in his four road starts, with the win coming in an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Greinke has never lost in Oakland, going 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in nine games, including six starts. He’s 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA against the A’s in 15 head-to-heads overall, including 11 starts.

The veteran will be reunited with former Milwaukee Brewers batterymate Jonathan Lucroy in a matchup of teams that, until Friday, hadn’t faced each other since 2015.

Greinke pitched to Lucroy 35 times for the Brewers before Greinke headed to the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers and eventually Arizona. Lucroy was off to Texas, Colorado and now Oakland.

Lucroy has not been friendly to his old pal as an opponent, going 8-for-12 (.667) with a double, a triple and two walks.

The A’s announced Saturday that they scratched Trevor Cahill from his Sunday start. Right-hander Frankie Montas will be promoted from the minors to start in his place.

The 25-year-old will be making his first big-league appearance of the season and third career start. He has never faced the Diamondbacks.

“Talking to our people, Frankie is pitching pretty well right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin explained of the move. “He’s throwing strikes. He’s had a couple of good outings.”

Melvin noted that Cahill is not injured, just being given an extra day off between starts. He is now scheduled to open a four-game home series against Tampa Bay on Monday.

Exactly what lineup Montas sees from the Diamondbacks is anyone’s guess.

With Arizona manager Torey Lovullo’s team riding a seven-game losing streak, he promoted backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to No. 3 in the lineup for Friday’s series opener. Murphy responded with a two-run double in the 7-1 victory.

Lovullo took his shuffling to a new level Saturday when he moved star Paul Goldschmidt to second in the lineup for the first time in his career. He went 0-for-4, but Lovullo assured he’s not done tinkering.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about,” Lovullo explained. “I just felt like piling hitters up in certain areas would make a lot of sense. The analytics say your best hitter is typically your second hitter, and Paul fits that category. Just looking for a little bit of a different balance, a different look and a different feel.”