A's right-hander Jharel Cotton will try to follow up the best start of his young career against Houston, while Astros pitcher Charlie Morton hopes to end his winless drought when the two teams meet in the series finale at the Coliseum on Sunday.
Cotton (1-1, 3.97 ERA) combined with two relievers on a three-hit shutout of Kansas City last Monday. The 25-year-old allowed just two hits with six strikeouts, while making it through seven innings for only the second time in seven career starts.
Acquired at the Trade Deadline last season when Oakland shipped Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cotton will be making just his second start against the Astros. He took a no-decision in his only other appearance despite allowing one run over six innings.
Morton (0-1, 4.09 ERA) is trying to get on track after stumbling in his two previous starts this season following a strong spring. He'll be making his first career start against the A's after the right-hander faced Seattle twice this year.
In two starts against the Mariners, Morton allowed five runs and 12 hits over 11 innings while striking out 10 batters.
Three things to know
• The Astros are 5-0 against right-handed starting pitchers so far this season. Last year Houston went 56-52 against right-handers.
• The A's are in the midst of a 16-game stretch against teams from the American League West. Last season Oakland went 29-47 against its division opponents, including just 13-24 at home.
• Houston's Jose Altuve has thrived just about anywhere he's played, but the diminutive second baseman seems to do best in Oakland. Altuve -- who had his streak of reaching base in 11 consecutive plate appearances snapped in his first at-bat Saturday -- has more hits at the Coliseum than at any ballpark outside of Minute Maid Park.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.