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A’s hope rematch with James Shields can wake up slumping bats

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The Oakland Athletics are hoping another outing against James Shields turns out to be a good thing. (Courtesy seanbirm/Flickr)

OAKLAND — In eight games since scoring 10 runs against the Chicago White Sox on June 24, the Oakland Athletics have averaged fewer than four runs per contest. They’ve gone 2-6 over that stretch.

With an inconsistent rotation and defense, Oakland has leaned on its bats to drive positive results this season. In an effort to get the lineup back on track Tuesday, Bob Melvin moved first baseman Yonder Alonso up to the cleanup spot in the order and designated hitter Khris Davis to the No. 3 slot.

“Hopefully we get it going today because it’s difficult for us to win if we don’t swing the bats,” Melvin said. “The offense is the thing that stands out. And then when you don’t hit and you don’t do other things well, it looks ugly like it did last night.”

Oakland struck out 13 times in its 7-2 loss to the White Sox on Monday.

But a matchup with James Shields, who surrendered six runs in three innings during Oakland’s 10-run outburst in Chicago, could fuel a turnaround. The 35-year-old right-hander has surrendered 10 home runs to the Athletics in his past five games against them, including three blasts in the last meeting.

After teeing off against Shields to help clinch a winning road trip, Oakland is in search of a spark to rediscover its home form. The Athletics are 22-21 at the Coliseum but have dropped their last eight at home.

“We come off the road trip where we’re 4-2 for the first time,” Melvin said, “we come back home and I really thought we would have a really good homestand.”

HEALY’S HEALTH:

–Melvin said third baseman Ryon Healy could be available off the bench Tuesday. He exited Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves with a back injury and sat out Monday’s game.

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