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SEA@OAK: Pomeranz shuts down Mariners in first start

The A's newest rotation member, Drew Pomeranz, gets the nod for Tuesday's middle matchup of a three-game set with the visiting White Sox, who will have righty Scott Carroll on the mound for his first start at the Coliseum. The A's, winners of five straight, took the series opener on Monday night.

Pomeranz began the year in Oakland's bullpen and allowed just three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings for a 1.98 ERA before firing five scoreless innings the nightcap of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Mariners in a spot start -- his first since July 2013 with the Rockies.

The lefty allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and no walks in the outing, and his performance was enough to convince the A's to try him out in the rotation on a permanent basis in place of the demoted Dan Straily.

Pomeranz utilized 68 pitches in his last start and is expected to be able to reach close to 85 or 90 on Tuesday.

"We'll kick him up a few more pitches," said manager Bob Melvin. "We've been seeing a pretty consistent performer since before Spring Training to this point. Pitching in a long role can be difficult, in that you don't get regular reps out there to keep yourself sharp. But he has, and in his first start I don't know that we could have expected much more than that."

"I tried to keep my same approach out there, really," said Pomeranz. "Just come into the game and attack hitters. I was trying to stay ahead of guys and was throwing my curveball for strikes, locating my fastball pretty well, and I threw some good changeups."

It was the first time this year Pomeranz had used his changeup in a game, having kept it in his back pocket as a reliever.

"He just needs to go out there and throw strikes," said Melvin. "Get ahead of guys."

For Carroll, this will mark just his fourth career start. He has a 5.40 ERA in his last two, most recently allowing the Cubs six runs on 11 hits over four innings.

The A's pose an even greater challenge, ranking near the top of the Major League standings in runs scored with the White Sox.

"They're been swinging it well," said Carroll. "They're definitely grinders, and they're going to make you work, but my key is to just throw strikes and just let my defense work behind me. Just got to compete and give my team the best chance to win.

"It's my first time out here, so I'm looking forward to it. When I walked out there, that was definitely one of the things that I noticed was how much foul ground there is. It's pretty spacious. But the key is to keep the ball down. Especially at this level, if you keep the ball up, they're going to make you pay for it. Key is to make consistent strikes."

White Sox: Steverson returns to old stomping grounds
This might mark Chicago's first and only trip to Oakland in 2014, but it's a ballpark that White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson knows well. He spent the 2009-10 campaigns as a first-base coach for A's manager Bob Geren, as part of his 10-year coaching stint in the Oakland organization that included eight seasons in the Minor Leagues.

Chicago manager Robin Ventura tabbed Steverson to help the team's offense this past offseason, and it's clear he's enjoyed Steverson's teaching style. Through 39 games, the White Sox ranked second in the American League with 5.05 runs per game and a .264 team batting average.

"Everybody has a unique way of delivering a message and doing things," Ventura said. "He can be mellow and very polite, and he can be up front and kind of a jerk at the same time. Hitting coaches kind of have to walk that line sometimes of being direct and uncomfortable, all those things."

A's: Crisp remains sidelined with neck strain
There's a good chance A's outfielder Coco Crisp is held out of action through Thursday's off-day while he continues to recover from a neck strain he sustained last week.

Crisp took batting practice for the first time Monday afternoon, but only from the right side, as the injury is giving him too much discomfort while swinging left-handed.

"It really is a day-to-day proposition," said Melvin.

Worth noting

• Thirteen of the last 14 games between the White Sox and A's have been decided by three runs or less.

• Chicago leads the Majors with 38 ninth-inning runs this season.

• The A's are 16-2 when scoring first, which is the best record in the American League.

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