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OAK@LAA: Griffin hurls eight frames of one-run ball

The reigning American League West champion A's certainly haven't been welcoming to their new division rival this season.

Of course, that doesn't mean Oakland isn't enjoying facing the Astros.

The A's have won all four games against their new AL West counterparts this season, following an earlier sweep with Monday's victory. On Tuesday, they'll send another strong arm to the mound in right-hander A.J. Griffin in search of win No. 5.

But don't think Oakland's four-game winning streak against the Astros has the A's underestimating Houston.

"These guys are playing a lot better and should be taken very seriously. You look at the numbers since we left up until now, they've played very well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There are certain times you catch teams when they're down, certain times you catch them when they're up. They're playing really well right now."

The Astros won two of three in Seattle after getting swept by Oakland from April 5-7. They've already shown improvement with the long ball, hitting 12 home runs in their first 13 games, two shy of the total they had through 23 games last season.

But while the Astros are playing better, Griffin is pitching well, too. The 25-year-old has followed last year's impressive rookie campaign with two strong starts in 2013. He tossed eight innings of one-run ball in his last outing against the Angels, which improved the right-hander to 9-1 in 17 career starts, tying him with Tim Hudson for the best record in Oakland history through 17 starts.

"He looks the same almost every time out there," Melvin said. "He keeps the ball down, throws strikes, has good subtle movement. Mechanically, he's real sound. It's pretty consistent with what we've seen from him since he came to the big leagues last year."

Astros: Peacock sees former team again
Right-hander Brad Peacock faces his former team for the second time this season after being traded from Oakland to Houston in February. He lost his season debut to the A's after allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings before rebounding to earn the victory in his last start against the Mariners.

Opposing hitters are only hitting .206 against Peacock this season.

A's: Crisp returns, keeps hitting
Center fielder Coco Crisp returned to the lineup Monday after missing consecutive games and continued where he left off, going 1-for-3. That extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he's batting .386.

Crisp was 2-for-2 against Peacock on April 5.

• Reliever Sean Doolittle is holding opponents to a .105 average in six scoreless appearances.

• A's catchers are hitting a combined .380.

Worth noting
• The A's are 10-0 when scoring at least four runs and 0-4 when they don't.

• Houston's Carlos Pena is 2-for-3 with a double against Griffin.

• A's closer Grant Balfour has converted his last 19 save opportunities.

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