A’s hope bats wake up in second game against Cardinals

Apr 16, 2024, 7:22 AM | Updated: 8:50 am

JP Sears #38 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Glob...

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 11: JP Sears #38 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on April 11, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Lance Lynn attempts to trace the footsteps of fellow veteran righty Sonny Gray and break into the win column as the visiting St. Louis Cardinals go for a second straight victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Pitching at the site of his early career success, Gray dominated the series opener for six innings, shutting out his former team on four hits in a 3-1 Cardinals win.

Lynn (0-0, 2.63 ERA) is coming off a strong effort, having held the Philadelphia Phillies to one hit over five innings of what turned into a 4-3 loss last Wednesday. He has allowed earned runs in just one of his three starts, including opening his season with four shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With Lynn following Gray, who missed the opening of the season with a hamstring injury, in the rotation, the Cardinals finally have all three veteran newcomers — including Kyle Gibson — lined up.

“The three are the absolute perfect fit from a personality standpoint to what we were looking for,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol assured. “When you talk about culture, it’s important to have guys that have been around that aren’t only thinking about themselves, they’re thinking about the club. And those three are known for that.”

Lynn has held the upper hand over the A’s in his career. He’s 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 11 starts. Pitching then for the Dodgers, he beat the A’s 7-3 last August, allowing three runs — all on solo home runs –in seven innings.

One player the 36-year-old can expect to see is speedy A’s outfielder Esteury Ruiz, who celebrated a call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday with a pinch-hit home run that accounted for all the Oakland scoring in the series-opening loss.

Ruiz opened the season 3-for-7 with a double, a triple and a stolen base, but A’s manager Mark Kotsay, citing a flaw in his swing and excellent depth in the Oakland outfield, sent the 25-year-old to Las Vegas to get consistent playing time.

Ruiz hit .326 with three home runs and seven steals in 11 games following the demotion, and when the A’s got a roster opening with J.D. Davis having gone on the injured list Monday, Kotsay summoned the American League’s defending stolen base champ for the opening of the St. Louis series.

“I’ve continued to follow him,” Kotsay said of Ruiz. “The swing is definitely looking better. More direct. The result (Monday’s homer) was exactly what he’s capable of doing. That’s a good sign.”

Oakland will send left-hander JP Sears (1-1, 5.17), who one-hit the Texas Rangers over 6 1/3 innings of a 1-0 road win last Thursday, against Lynn.

Sears had been roughed up for nine runs and 12 hits in 9 1/3 innings in his first two starts.

The 28-year-old has made just one previous start against the Cardinals, that coming last August in St. Louis. Paul Goldschmidt belted a two-run homer in Sears’ fifth and final inning, before which the Cardinals had scored just one run.

Sears did not get a decision in an eventual 7-5 loss.

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–Field Level Media

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