Until their most recent game, the Oakland Athletics were enjoying one of their best stretches at the plate this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang will try to keep those bats quiet again during his first matchup with his former club and deny Oakland's Brandon McCarthy a sixth consecutive win Tuesday night.
After batting an MLB-worst .208 in their first 52 games, the A's (31-36) are hitting .284 over their last 15. Much of that production came during a seven-game interleague stretch in which they hit .309 and scored 56 runs.
Oakland won each of the final five contests over that span before losing 2-1 to San Diego on Sunday. The A's had six singles with Jonny Gomes accounting for three.
"If you go back and look at that game, a lot of guys put the ball in play fairly decent. It's just the difference was it went right to somebody," third baseman Brandon Inge told the team's official website. "We could've easily scored 10 runs today. It's not like we were striking out all over the place, we were just hitting the ball at people. It's baseball."
The A's will try for better luck against Harang (5-3, 3.59 ERA), but they might not find it as he is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts this month. Harang gave up two unearned runs over seven innings to the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday while not receiving a decision in a 5-2 victory.
"It was nice to be able to go out and keep us in the game," he said. "It comes down to who scores that last run. Those are fun games to be in."
Harang, 4-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his last seven outings, made his first 21 major league starts and two relief appearances for the A's from 2002-03 until being traded to Cincinnati. During his return to Oakland, he might have to outduel McCarthy (5-3, 2.79), who is 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA over his last six starts.
A troublesome injury to his shoulder, though, has kept the right-hander from starting since a 7-1 win over Texas on June 7. McCarthy, who is riding the longest win streak of his career, was on the disabled list May 20-June 2 with a strained shoulder.
In his first start against the Dodgers (42-25), he'll face a team that's 6-1 in its last seven road games and won two of three at home this weekend over the Chicago White Sox.
Dee Gordon's two-out single in the 10th inning Sunday gave Los Angeles a 2-1 victory.
"We just grinded it out today and were able to come through in the end," said outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who tripled and scored the winning run. "It was a bunch of guys who did it."
The Dodgers have lost nine of 11 in Oakland during interleague play.
A's first baseman Brandon Moss, batting .348 with five homers and 10 RBIs over his last six games, is 3 for 5 with a home run against Harang.