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Saunders strikes out five over 5 1/3 innings

Claimed off waivers by Oakland a little over a month ago, Travis Blackley has quietly transitioned into a starting role for the A's.

The left-hander will make his sixth appearance and third start for the A's on Sunday against the D-backs, ready to get his first win with his new team at Chase Field.

Spending the first part of the season with the Giants, Blackley's start with the A's on Tuesday turned out to be his toughest of the season. In 4 2/3 innings against the Rangers, Blackley surrendered five runs on seven hits for his first loss. However, before that rough outing, he'd combined to give up just two runs on seven hits in 11 innings with Oakland.

In his first career appearance against Arizona, Blackley will try to prevent the D-backs from a three-game series sweep.

He'll be up against left-hander Joe Saunders, who gave up a season-high 11 Rockies hits in his last outing.

Taking the loss in that game, the left-hander tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned), while striking out three and walking one.

"I made some good pitches and they found holes," Saunders said after the start. "After I gave up the runs, it was a matter of keeping my team in the ballgame as best as I could."

Becoming quite familiar with the A's as a member of the Angels for a little over four seasons, Saunders is 12-4 with a 3.44 ERA in 18 career starts.

A's: Cook in closer's mix
While Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour are expected to still see time in the ninth inning, manager Bob Melvin said before Saturday's game that he's decided to move forward with a closer-by-committee approach that includes Ryan Cook.

The change comes less than 24 hours after Fuentes surrendered his second walk-off homer in as many weeks, the latest resulting in a 9-8 loss to the D-backs that was once a six-run Oakland lead. The left-handed Fuentes, who took over the ninth-inning role on May 13, has surrendered seven runs over his past four outings, forcing Melvin to stray from the one-closer approach he prefers. On the other hand, Cook has allowed just two runs all season.

"I feel like we have three closers now," Melvin said. "We'll do the best we can to match up based on availability, left/right matchups. We'll do the best we can to get the guys in the right situations. I talked to all three of them."

D-backs: Trahan signs, takes BP
Arizona's first-round Draft pick, Stryker Trahan, was at Chase Field on Saturday, taking batting practice only hours after signing a contract with the D-backs.

"He's an awesome kid. The D-backs are getting a lot more than a good baseball player," said Stryker's mother, Donna, who was in attendance along with her son's father and little sister.

Taken No. 26 overall this week, Trahan, an 18-year-old left-handed-hitting catcher, spent about 20 minutes on Saturday taking swings, eventually hitting consecutive homers into the left-field bleachers.

Worth Noting
• The D-backs are 4-21 when trailing after six innings this season.

• Arizona is 15-9 in its last 24 Interleague games.

• The A's are batting .286 (80-for-280) with 44 runs, 18 doubles and seven home runs in their last eight games after hitting .181 with just 38 runs, 17 doubles and 11 home runs in the previous 18 contests.

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