April 17, 2011A'S PAGE A'S VIDEO
(AP) -- Despite receiving excellent starting pitching all weekend, the Oakland Athletics need a win to salvage a split of their four-game home series with the Detroit Tigers.Trevor Cahill will be looking to extend the outstanding stretch by Oakland's rotation when he takes the mound Sunday afternoon.Athletics starting pitchers have yet to give up an earned run in this series - a feat which has lowered the rotation's ERA to a major league-best 2.25.After 12 2-3 scoreless innings by Gio Gonzalez and Brandon McCarthy went for naught in losses to Detroit on Thursday and Friday, Dallas Braden gave up one unearned run in five innings Saturday before leaving with stiffness in his pitching shoulder. Though his departure came early, Braden got credit for a 6-2 win over the Tigers (7-8).The loss of Braden aside, there were several positives for the Athletics (7-8). Oakland's struggling bullpen was effective, giving up one run and three hits in four innings, and the Athletics were able to overcome their major league-leading 17th error.Most importantly though, Oakland's offense appears to be improving. It has scored four or more runs in four of the last five games after averaging 3.1 in its first 10. David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui each had two of the A's nine hits Saturday, six of which went for extra bases."Our pitching staff's been doing their thing all year so we have to start scoring some runs for them," shortstop Cliff Pennington said. "You always want to win at home. Now we have to try to go out here (Sunday) and try to split this series."Cahill (1-0, 3.12 ERA) will try to bounce back from a poor start against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. The right-hander allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5, 10-inning defeat. It was the second time in three starts this season he failed to make it out of the fifth."My bullpen before the game went unusually better than I expected," said Cahill, whose poor performance came one day after he signed a five-year, 30.5 million extension. "Usually I'm pretty bad in the bullpen, but today I was pretty good. I knew I was going to be struggling after that."Cahill is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA in three starts against Detroit, but was effective in his only start against the Tigers last season, allowing one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-1 victory at Comerica Park.Detroit will look to bounce back after having its four-game winning streak snapped Saturday. The Tigers went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position in the loss. They're batting .316 in RBI situations in their seven wins, compared with .136 in their losses."I don't mind if we don't execute but it looked to me like we didn't even recognize the situations," manager Jim Leyland said. "It was kind of shocking to me."Magglio Ordonez was 1 for 4 in his return to Detroit's lineup. He had been out since Monday with a tight right Achilles' tendon.While Detroit's offense tries for a better performance, Brad Penny (0-1, 8.27) looks to build off his most effective start of the season when he takes the mound Sunday.Penny gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win over Texas on Tuesday. The right-hander had allowed 12 runs over 9 2-3 innings in starts at New York and Baltimore.Penny has posted a 6.00 ERA while splitting two career starts against the Athletics, one in 2003 and the other in 2009.