Powell cashing in rare starting chances

Powell cashing in rare starting chances

ARLINGTON -- Landon Powell got another start at catcher on Friday. It gave him another chance to add to his RBI prowess.

Powell is up there with Mitchell Page and Ben Grieve when it comes to A's rookies driving in runs. Powell had 11 RBIs in 12 games coming into Friday's doubleheader. Page had 15 in 12 games way back in 1977. Ben Grieve, from right here in Arlington, had 14 in 11 games.

Powell, the 24th-overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, was batting .353 (6-for-17) with runners on base, and even better, .462 (6-for-13) with runners in scoring position. He has only two hits in 21 at-bats with the bases empty.

"I guess I'm just focusing more and really locking in," Powell said. "When guys are on base I'm looking for a pitch early in the count. Luckily I'm in the eight or nine hole, so I'm seeing some pitches."

If there are any concerns about Powell so far, it would be that it is late May and he still doesn't have a hit against a left-handed pitcher. But it is a small sampling -- 10 at-bats -- and Powell has always hit lefties.

"In the past, his splits right and left have been pretty even," A's manager Bob Geren said.

In fact, last year Powell batted .272 against lefties and .211 against righties.

Powell also points out that he has faced a few tough lefties -- the New York Yankees' CC Sabathia and the Toronto Blue Jays' Ricky Romero.

"I've always been batting righty; it's my natural side," Powell said. "I haven't gotten as much work. I just need to get some knocks and work on my swing. CC and Romero, they're pretty good."

Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Brett Anderson (2-4, 4.98 ERA)
Anderson may have this winning thing worked out after recording his second Major League victory in as many starts. Monday's six-inning stint was easily his best of the season. He gave up a home run to Kenji Johjima, but it was the only solid hit off him all day. He allowed one run on six hits, walked two and struck out four. He pitched in Texas on April 28, taking a no-decision after giving up three runs (one earned) over five innings.

TEX: RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-2, 4.67 ERA)
McCarthy pitched his first career shutout in a 5-0 victory over the Astros on Sunday, allowing nine hits and one walk while striking out six. He has pitched at least seven innings and thrown at least 105 pitches in his last three starts and is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA. He is 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts at home this season. He lost to the Athletics, 9-4, on May 7 by allowing seven runs in four innings and is 0-3 with an 11.57 ERA in his career against them. That's his highest ERA against any team.

Designated hitter Jack Cust was back in the lineup for Game 1 of the doubleheader after being scratched Wednesday with tightness in his lower back, but he was lifted for pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby in the third inning. Wednesday was Cust's first missed start of the season. ... Right fielder Travis Buck was in the lineup for Game 1, even though he is dealing with a strained oblique, which might explain why he was 1-for-10 on the past homestand. ... Right-hander Justin Duchscherer's lower back is still bothering him after throwing just three pitches in a recent flat-ground throwing session. ... Beginning June 1, A's catcher Kurt Suzuki and his wife, Renee, are raising funds through an online auction through oaklandathletics.com for the Jon Wilhite Recovery Fund. Wilhite was the lone survivor of the April 9 car crash that killed Angels' pitcher Nick Adenhart, Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart. Kurt and Wilhite were teammates and both catchers in 2004 at Cal State University at Fullerton. Three teams have donated items to the auction, including the Rangers. Texas catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been the leader in putting together the Rangers' team basket which includes a Hank Blalock autographed home jersey, an Andruw Jones autographed used bat and Saltalamacchia autographed cleats among other items. Some of the other auction items include a Jason Giambi autographed jersey; a Ryan Howard autographed jersey; a Jonathan Papelbon autographed jersey; an Alex Rodriguez autographed jersey; an Albert Pujols autographed bat;a Vladimir Guerrero autographed bat; a Matt Holliday autographed bat and a Dan Haren autographed baseball.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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Up next
• Sunday: Athletics (Dallas Braden, 4-5, 3.69) at Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 4-4, 3.25), 12:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 2-5, 4.45) at White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 3-4, 3.80), 5:11 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Athletics (TBD) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 3-5, 6.12), 5:11 p.m. PT

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.