Diamondbacks turn to Buchholz against Athletics

OAKLAND, Calif. — Clay Buchholz insists he has his team more on his mind than his personal comeback when he gets a second start for the Arizona Diamondbacks on the middle day of a three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.

Losers of seven straight and 13 of 14 before making the trip to Oakland, the Diamondbacks took a step in the right direction with a 7-1 thumping of the A’s in Friday’s series opener.

The meeting of National League West and American League West teams was the first since 2015, and the first between the clubs in Oakland since 2011.

Everything went right for the Diamondbacks, with every starter except one contributing hits toward a 12-hit assault on Oakland ace Sean Manaea and four A’s relievers.

Buchholz (0-0, 1.80) will attempt to give the Diamondbacks a winning streak for the first time since May 8 when he opposes A’s right-hander Daniel Mengden on Saturday.

Buchholz couldn’t stop what was then a three-game skid despite pitching well in his Diamondbacks debut on Sunday.

Pitching in the majors for the first time this season, the 33-year-old limited the New York Mets to one run and two hits in five innings and wasn’t around when the Arizona bullpen gave up three late runs in a 4-1 loss.

Buchholz is confident the Diamondbacks can turn things around.

“The worm will turn; it always does,” he insisted. “(We’ve) got too many good athletes for the stretch to last much longer.

“You just gotta stick with what you’re doing, know that you’re working and know the process will figure itself out at some point, and when it does, this it’s gonna be really fun because this team will go on a big run.”

Buchholz began the year with the Royals, but was released on May 1 without getting into any major league games this season. He had made five minor league starts for the Royals and Diamondbacks before his promotion last week.

The former Boston Red Sox standout will be making his 10th career start against the A’s, having gone 4-2 with a 6.85 ERA in the first nine.

He has not fared well in Oakland, going 1-2 with a 9.58 ERA in three starts.

Among the A’s who have not treated Buchholz kindly is Mark Canha, who accounted for Oakland’s only run Friday night with his seventh home run of the season.

Canha has gone 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in his career against Buchholz.

Mengden (4-4, 3.30) has never faced the Diamondbacks. He’s gone 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA in seven interleague starts.

The 25-year-old has been brilliant in May, allowing just four earned runs in 24 2/3 innings over four starts.

He’s coming off arguably the best start of his career, when he pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits, in a 9-2 win at Toronto on Sunday.

The A’s have lost three of four since then to open a 10-game homestand, scoring just seven runs in those games.