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TEX@OAK: Gray strikes out seven in A's win

As the A's look to add to their Major League-best record, the Marlins will try to bring themselves back to a game within .500 on Saturday at Marlins Park.

Miami is starting Nathan Eovaldi, who is coming off his first scoreless start of the season. He tossed 6 1/3 innings in his last turn against the Phillies on Monday.

Monday's game was a reprieve of sorts for Eovaldi, who had given up 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings across his two previous starts. He managed to hold the Phillies to six hits -- he had given up a combined 19 to the Pirates and Cubs -- but struck out just two.

In his previous four starts, Eovaldi went 0-1 with a 4.78 ERA, and he allowed opponents to hit .286 against him.

Eovaldi faced the A's in 2012, when he was with the Dodgers. He gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings in a loss.

The A's will counter with Sonny Gray, who will be going on nine days' rest, courtesy of a pair of off-days this week that enabled the A's to skip the youngster -- already up to 99 innings in his first full big league season -- once through the rotation.

The righty last pitched June 18 in a win against the Rangers, firing seven innings of two-run ball on the heels of consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

Going back further, he was 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in his previous four starts.

"When I first came up, talking to some of the older guys that are here, and this year talking to [Scott Kazmir], I think people sometimes forget that baseball's a pretty hard game and there's going to be some rough patches that you're going to go through," said Gray. "But being able to know how good you are and know what you're able to do and stay with from game to game. ... Just continue to move on and look to the next start."

Gray, who has never faced the Marlins, is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career Interleague appearances.

A's: Veteran Lowrie battling his way through slump
A's shortstop Jed Lowrie hit .298 in April, but his average fell all the way to .215 entering Friday. He did break out in the A's series-opening win, going 2-for-5 with an RBI, although he struck out twice.

Entering the game, Lowrie was 7-for-66 (.106) with 18 strikeouts over his last 18 games, despite putting together a handful of encouraging at-bats.

"That's the real frustrating part of it, is when you're struggling some and now you put together some good at-bats and hit 'em hard right at people," said manager Bob Melvin. "You try to say, 'All right, those are good at-bats,' but it's frustrating because you don't have anything to show for it. It's a pretty frustrating period for him right now."

Lowrie had gone 12 consecutive games without an RBI, which was the longest streak of his career.

Marlins: Bullpen overworked
Manager Mike Redmond wanted to keep his relievers out of Friday's game. The Marlins bullpen tossed seven-plus innings in Thursday night's 14-inning loss to the Phillies following Tom Koehler's six-inning start. The pitching staff threw a combined 227 pitches that night, including 50 pitches from A.J. Ramos and 44 from Chris Hatcher.

But Redmond didn't get the chance to offer his bullpen any rest, as he had to pull starter Anthony DeSclafani after the third inning because of a right forearm contusion. Marlins relievers had to throw six innings Friday and ended up allowing seven runs.

Entering Friday's game, the Marlins' bullpen had logged 250 1/3 innings -- eighth most in the Majors.

Worth noting:
The A's Yoenis Cespedes extended his hitting streak to 11 games in Friday's win, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the ninth. During the streak, he's hit 16-for-43 with 13 RBIs while drawing six walks.

Koehler is on call this weekend, as his wife is expected to give birth to their first child. The righty's currently projected to make his next start on Wednesday against the Phillies.

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