August 18, 2014

The Oakland Athletics ended their longest stretch of futility this season in their return home, but a matchup with red-hot Zack Wheeler may hinder their attempt to build on the conclusion to that lengthy skid.

Oakland, though, dealt the New York Mets right-hander his most recent loss and will attempt to end his win streak at five on Wednesday.

The A's (74-51) had dropped five in a row heading into Tuesday's opener of a two-game set with New York (59-68) but hung on for a 6-2 victory, their 35th in the last 47 home games. They scored four runs in the fourth inning, with Coco Crisp tripling home three to match a season high for RBIs.

Josh Reddick added a two-run homer in the eighth and the A's stayed within one-half game of Los Angeles in the AL West.

"When we lose a game, we come out and still expect to win," said Crisp, who had two hits Tuesday after going 2 for 23 during Oakland's 1-6 road trip. "We came out today with the same mentality we always have.

"We're coming out here, fighting, trying to win and trying to still come in first."

Oakland will try to keep heading in the right direction versus Wheeler (8-8, 3.49), who is 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in his last nine starts. That streak began after his only other start against Oakland on June resulted in an 8-5 loss.

He was charged with six runs in a career-low two innings but has pitched at least six in each start since. Wheeler allowed two runs and matched a season high with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings Friday in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Wheeler also overcame four walks and has issued 11 in 19 1-13 innings in his three starts this month.

"He's pitching awfully well," manager Terry Collins said. "He didn't have his best command (versus the Cubs), but his stuff still gets people out."

The Mets, losers in six of eight, will face Jeff Samardzija (3-2, 3.21) and will try to hand him consecutive losses for the first time since being acquired from the Cubs on July 4. The right-hander gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-3 loss in Kansas City on Thursday, but was charged with two runs after leaving in the seventh.

He had given up a combined four runs in 13 innings in his prior two outings.

Samardzija is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his five home starts for the A's, and Oakland has won in each game. He's making his third start against the Mets and first since July 7, 2012.

Samardzija was 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA in those two previous matchups.

Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer off Wheeler in June but hasn't added to his 23 in a season-high 20 games.

Daniel Murphy is 3 for 6 with a home run lifetime against Samardzija and Ruben Tejada is 4 for 9.

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