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Blanton has tough acts to follow

Blanton has tough acts to follow

A's rookie righty Joe Blanton will be trying to help Oakland extend its winning streak to five games Saturday when he takes on All-Star lefty Kenny Rogers and the Rangers in the third game of a four-game series at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.

Blanton, the American League Rookie of the Month for June, lost his first start of July but pitched well, allowing three runs over seven innings. Since going 0-3 with a 13.25 ERA in May, Blanton has been outstanding, particularly at home. He's 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA at McAfee Coliseum, where opponents are batting .221 against him.

In the second game of the series Friday, Barry Zito took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Kevin Mench broke it up with a one-out homer. The A's settled for their 15th win in 18 games.

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Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Joe Blanton
• 5-7, 4.44 ERA in 2005
• 0-1, 1.35 ERA vs. TEX in 2005

TEX: LHP Kenny Rogers
• 10-4, 2.54 ERA in 2005
• 1-0, 0.00 ERA vs. OAK in 2005

Player to watch
A's second baseman Mark Ellis is 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles in his career against Rogers.

Quotable
"He's maturing more as a Major League pitcher every time he goes out there."--A's pitching coach Curt Young on Blanton

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
Gameday
Official game notes

On television
• OAK: None
• TEX: FSN

On radio
• OAK: KFRC-610 AM
• TEX: KRLD-1080 AM

Quick hits
Blanton had his four-game winning strak snapped in his last outing of the first half when he gave up three runs on nine hits over seven innings in Toronto. His ERA over his past five starts is 1.67. ... The A's have been shut out seven times this season, and four of them have come in games started by Blanton ... A's outfielder Mark Kotsay is 8-for-22 (.389) with two doubles against Rogers. ... Rogers beat Rich Harden on May 2, holding the A's scoreless on four hits and a walk over eight innings.

On deck
• Sunday: vs. Rangers, 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: at Angels, 7:05 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: at Angels, 7:05 p.m. PT

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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