Oakland Athletics open series with Cardinals, hope to continue surge

Apr 15, 2024, 5:59 AM | Updated: 8:34 am

Lawrence Butler #4 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning wi...

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 14: Lawrence Butler #4 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning with Ryan Noda #49 against the Washington Nationals on April 14, 2024 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics lost seven of their first eight games before reversing course with six wins in their last eight contests.

The Athletics will aim to continue their recent good fortune on Monday night when they open a three-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

Oakland won its third consecutive series for the first time since 2021, and the A’s did so in spectacular fashion on Sunday.

The Athletics overcame a five-run deficit by scoring six times in the sixth inning en route to a 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals. Abraham Toro’s two-run single to left field capped the six-run frame.

Oakland’s Ross Stripling (0-3, 5.50 ERA) will look to snap a run of eight straight losing decisions on Monday when he gets the start against fellow right-hander and former Athletic Sonny Gray (1-0, 0.00).

Stripling, 34, has sandwiched disastrous starts around a stellar one this season, but the result has been a loss in each outing. His latest bit of misfortune came Wednesday when he allowed six runs on 11 hits in six innings of a 6-2 setback to the Texas Rangers.

“He had two innings where a couple of hits fell in and hurt him,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “I think that’s just the story (of that game).”

Stripling lost all five of his decisions last season with the San Francisco Giants. His most recent victory came in his final start of the 2022 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Stripling is 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in seven career appearances (three starts) against St. Louis.

Signed to a three-year, $75 million contract in free agency, Gray saw his debut delayed due to a right hamstring injury sustained in spring training.

Gray, however, paid immediate dividends on Tuesday when he scattered five hits and struck out five without walking a batter over five scoreless innings in St. Louis’ 3-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

“There’s a lot to be excited about with having him healthy again because he hasn’t pitched in front of a crowd in a while,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “To go out and control his overall emotions and not try to do too much, he was under control the whole time, landed six pitches for strikes. That was pretty dominant.”

Gray, 34, owns a 1-1 record with a 4.24 ERA in five career starts against Oakland. He pitched his first five major league seasons with the Athletics.

While Gray worked a scoreless outing in his 2024 debut, the Cardinals were blanked for the first time this season in a 5-0 setback to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. St. Louis mustered just four hits en route to sustaining its fifth loss in the past seven games.

The Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado had a double on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to four games. He has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 contests.

Teammate Willson Contreras carries an on-base streak of a career-best 20 games into the series opener.

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Monday, April 15-Wednesday, April 17th – vs. St. Louis Cardinals
  • Friday, April 19-Sunday, April 21 – @ Cleveland Guardians
  • Monday, April 22-Thursday, April 25 – @ New York Yankees
  • Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28 – @ Baltimore Orioles

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–Field Level Media

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