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Jun 28, 2024 7:58 am

A’s visit Diamondbacks, look to end 11-game road losing streak

jp sears

The Oakland Athletics will try to end an 11-game road losing streak when they open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in Phoenix.

The A’s are coming off a three-game sweep by the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., and they’ve dropped five straight overall.

“There’s a lot of mental mistakes we made in this series that we’ve got to clean up,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said after losing 5-2 to the Angels on Wednesday.

The A’s plan to start left-hander JP Sears, who’s also looking to turn things around after going 0-3 in his first four starts in June with a 9.18 ERA.

“You just remind yourself that it’s a long season,” Sears said.

Sears (4-7, 5.04 ERA) faced the Minnesota Twins in each of his past two starts and didn’t make it out of the second inning on Saturday in a 10-2 loss, allowing a career-high eight runs and nine hits in 1 1/3 innings, his shortest outing as a major league starter.

“Real tough day for JP, one that we’ll just turn the page on,” Kotsay said.

Sears said he struggled with the command of his fastball in his latest start, particularly in the early innings.

“That’s where I’ve done really well in games,” he said. “When I’ve come out and commanded my fastball well and been able to throw my slider and offspeed off that.”

He has never faced Arizona in his three-year career.

The Diamondbacks hope to rebound after losing 13-6 to the visiting Twins on Thursday afternoon.

Arizona starter Jordan Montgomery only lasted 2 2/3 innings, forcing the Diamondbacks to go to their bullpen early.

The Diamondbacks plan to start right-hander Slade Cecconi in the series opener, and they need him to go as deep as possible.

Cecconi (2-6, 5.74) worked only three innings in his most recent start last Sunday, allowing one run on five hits in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

He has never faced the A’s in his two-year career.

The Diamondbacks gave Kevin Newman a shot at third base on Thursday and he went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, but also committed a costly two-run throwing error in the six-run second inning.

Arizona started the season with Eugenio Suarez at third, but he has struggled offensively. Rookie Blaze Alexander also has played in eight games at the corner bag.

“It’s been on my mind,” manager Torey Lovullo said of giving Newman a look. “I think it was just natural for me to see what Newman looked like over there.”

Lovullo also explained his decision to remove two of his best players during the loss on Thursday, second baseman Ketel Marte and first baseman Christian Walker.

Diamondbacks reliever Bryce Jarvis hit Twins center fielder Byron Buxton and shortstop Carlos Correa with pitches on Thursday, causing Correa to leave with a wrist contusion, and Lovullo feared retaliation.

“I can assure that Bryce Jarvis was not trying to throw at anybody, and we do not have that reputation, but my senses were heightened,” he said. “I was on alert, and I was protecting some of our athletes.”

Marte contributed a double and a home run for Arizona on Thursday, and he also learned he was one of two finalists to be the National League starting second baseman at the 2024 MLB All-Star Game.

–Field Level Media

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