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Oakland Looks To Complete Pittsburgh Sweep

Dan Straily helped lead the Oakland A's to an 11th straight win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Dan Straily helped lead the Oakland A’s to an 11th straight win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

The Oakland Athletics will look to complete a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday evening (7:00 p.m. ET) as the two sides lock horns for the final time this season.

In addition to the sweep, the Athletics will be looking to remain perfect against the Pirates, a team the club is 11-0 against all-time in interleague play.

20130709-ALWestThe A’s got the better of Monday’s series opener as Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.69 ERA) outduelled fellow All-Star Jeff Locke (8-2, 2.15 ERA), leading the West Coast club to a 2-1 victory.

At 40-years-old, the veteran Colon continues to raise eyebrows around the league as he works towards putting together a very impressive season, and all on the back of a PED-related suspension last season.

After the old-timer led the A’s to victory on Monday, it was down to a young’un to do likewise Tuesday. Dan Straily (6-2, 4.28 ERA) yielded just one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings, enough to outlast fellow rookie Gerrit Cole (4-2, 3.68 ERA) and give Oakland a second straight 2-1 win over the Pirates.

With the A’s not in need of a fifth starter until later in the month, Straily – who has won his last five starts – will return to Triple-A Sacramento this week.

Winners of 10 of the last 13, Oakland will hope this solid pitching continues on Wednesday as the club looks to maintain its lead at the top of the AL West. The A’s currently hold a one-game lead in the win column over the Texas Rangers.

Tommy Milone will toe the rubber on Wednesday.

Tommy Milone will toe the rubber on Wednesday.

In a battle of left-handed pitching, Tommy Milone (8-7, 4.11 ERA) meets Francisco Liriano (8-3, 2.20 ERA) at PNC Park on Wednesday.

Oakland’s Milone has had an up and down year but has performed well in interleague play this season. He has recorded a 3-0 record in four starts against National League opponents this season, allowing just 26 hits in 22 2/3 innings pitched. However, of the 14 earned runs he has yielded, seven came from home run blasts.

After missing the first month of the season with a non-throwing arm injury, Pittsburgh’s Liriano has been efficient on the mound. He’s tied with Locke for most wins on the club and has yielded just three home runs all season. Last time out (July 5) he pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits and two runs in a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. In short, this offseason acquisition has turned out nicely for the Buccos.

Liriano is 1-1 in interleague play this year, having allowed five earned runs on 15 hits. Much of that damage was done against the Detroit Tigers. In his last interleague appearance (June 22), the left-hander gave up just one run on seven hits.

The Pirates will send four players to next week’s All-Star Game. Outfielder Andrew McCutcheon and third baseman Pedro Alvarez have been named reserves, while starter Jeff Locke and closer Jason Grilli will represent the team on the mound. Colon is Oakland’s sole All-Star representative.

McCutcheon had a 10-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday as he went 0-for-3 with a walk. He’ll hope to pick up the pace again in Wednesday’s series closer. Alvarez has gone 3-for-7 with a walk this series. The third baseman has now hit safely in seven straight games and 18 of the last 20. His 23 home runs and 58 RBIs pace the team, and are clear example of why he received his first All-Star nod.

Josh Donaldson has been hot of late.

Josh Donaldson has been hot of late.

Oakland meanwhile has taken 10 wins from its last 13 games, a stretch that has seen it maintain a lead over the Rangers and Los Angeles Angels, both of whom continue to play solid baseball. Josh Donaldson – who leads the team in hits (104), RBIs (58), batting average (.316), and slugging percentage (.529) – has hit safely in 11 of those games, including six multi-hit games.

Oakland Athletics vs. Pittsburgh Pirates odds for 7/10/13 are available now.

Pittsburgh (-136) opens as the favorite over Oakland (+126) on the moneyline but with the A’s having taken two wins already this series – once as the favorite and once as the underdog – bettors should give careful consideration to whether the sort-of slumping Pirates should really be considered the preferred choice.

The over/under opened at 7. This marks a drop from the 7 1/2 that Monday and Tuesday’s games opened, but that’s to be expected after both of those games saw the total go under.

Generally speaking, Oakland (48-41-2) has favored the over this season while Pittsburgh (39-49-1) has favored the under.

After a day off on Thursday, the A’s will host the Boston Red Sox over the weekend (Fri-Sun) to close out the first half of the season.

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