Thursday marks their final road game before the Deadline, as Oakland takes on the host Red Sox in the finale of a four-game series at Fenway Park, and on Tuesday, the veteran infielders underscored their relative appeal to contenders looking for a second-half boost.Signed to a one-year deal during Spring Training, Cabrera, 34, struggled for much of the first three months of the season, but has been one of the hottest hitters in the American League in July. On Tuesday, he maintained his AL lead in hits for July, banging out three for a total of 39 on the month. On Wednesday, he singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, and he's hit safely in 16 of 17 games going into the series finale. "He's been amazing," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "The guy plays every day, he knows how to take care of his body, and he's gotten better and better as the season's wore on. You don't see that from a lot of guys his age." Acquired in a Minor League trade in early May, Kennedy on Tuesday collected a career-high five hits, including an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning that drove in what proved to be the winning run in Oakland's 9-8 triumph. Kennedy, 33, has three games with at least four hits with the A's, who picked him up to fill in for injured Mark Ellis at second base. When Ellis returned to the lineup, Kennedy moved over to third base. He'd never before played the hot corner in the big leagues, and he's been rock solid. "He's just a baller," said left-hander Dallas Braden. "You could put AK anywhere on the field and he'll get it done for you." Ellis, 31 and signed through next season, played a big role in Tuesday's win, too. He matched his career highs with four hits and four runs scored. All told, Cabrera, Kennedy and Ellis went 12-for-16. "They had a heck of a night," Geren said. "If you're a pitcher and you look around our infield, you've gotta feel pretty comfortable." Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 7.75 ERA)
Gonzalez followed a dismal outing with one of the best starts of his young career. He worked 6 2/3 innings on Sunday, allowing one run on two hits against the Yankees in a 6-4 win. Afterward, Derek Jeter called Gonzalez "outstanding." In his previous start to that gem, Gonzalez surrendered 11 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. BOS: LHP Jon Lester (9-7, 3.79 ERA)
Lester continues to dazzle during a dominant run that has seen him allow no more than three runs in each of his past 10 starts, a stretch that began on May 31. The 25-year-old workhorse is 6-2 over that span with a 1.83 ERA and 84 strikeouts. He is coming off his third dominant outing of the season against the Orioles, who mustered just two runs against the power southpaw over 7 1/3 innings last Saturday at Fenway Park. In seven career starts against Oakland, Lester is 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA and a 32:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Dribblers ...
Outfielder Scott Hairston's left quad was still tight Wednesday, so he didn't start. He said he's optimistic about playing Thursday. ... Infielder Nomar Garciaparra did not start Wednesday, but he's expected to be in the lineup Thursday at designated hitter. Tommy Everidge likely will be at first base every day for at least a couple of weeks. ... Landon Powell is expected to start at catcher Thursday, because it's a day game after a night game. ... Geren said right-hander Justin Duchscherer remains on track to throw 60 pitches in a game with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. Duchscherer threw Sunday, played light catch Monday and threw on the side Tuesday without incident. ... If Duchscherer gets through Friday, he'll pitch again the following Wednesday and be limited to 80 pitches. He'll probably make one more start after that before being activated. ... Tuesday marked the fourth time in Oakland history that two players combined for nine hits in a game. Tickets
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Friday: Athletics (Dallas Braden, 7-9, 3.74) vs. Blue Jays (Scott Richmond, 6-5, 3.69), 7:05 p.m. PT
Saturday: Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 6-9, 4.77) vs. Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, 9-4, 3.59), 6:20 p.m. PT
Sunday: Athletics (Vin Mazzaro, 2-7, 5.16) vs. Blue Jays (TBD), 1:05 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.