It's been a wild series so far between the A's and Marlins in Miami, with two contests that were each tied in the ninth inning or later before Oakland broke through to claim victory.
After erasing a four-run deficit on Saturday only to lose, 7-6, in 14 innings, the Marlins hope there won't be any need to dig out of an early hole on Sunday afternoon, when they give the ball to their No. 1 prospect who will make his third Major League start against the highest-scoring offense in baseball.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney was strong in his big league debut on June 19, allowing one run on four hits over six innings in a 1-0 loss to the Mets. The 23-year-old then gave up five runs over five innings in a loss to the Phillies in his last outing on Tuesday.
The bulk of Heaney's troubles so far have come in the first inning, in which he's given up four of the six runs he's allowed, on homers by David Wright and Marlon Byrd.
"It's only been a couple starts. I don't think he really has a track record yet of the kind of pitcher he's gonna be," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said after Heaney's last outing. "For a young guy, in the first inning there's a lot going on -- a lot of emotions, there's a lot of adrenaline. It's part of being a young pitcher in the big leagues; it's being able to channel those emotions. ... He just needs to continue to get the experience, go out there and pitch."
Heaney's work is cut out for him against Oakland. The A's lead the Major Leagues in runs scored (414) and have scored 16 runs in the first two games of the series against the Marlins. Oakland has also won 10 of its last 13 games.
The one area that the A's have struggled in as of late, despite the success they've enjoyed, is starting pitching. Oakland starters have posted a 6.14 ERA over their last 11 outings. Left-hander Tommy Milone will try to buck that trend and perform more like the A's starting rotation has overall this season, boasting a 3.33 ERA.
Milone is riding a career-high five-game winning streak, dating back to May 9. He has a 2.91 ERA over that span, inflated somewhat by his last start, in which he received a no-decision last Sunday in a 7-6 loss to the Red Sox. He allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings.
"One through nine, I feel like they don't have any weaknesses. It can be tough," Milone said of Boston's lineup. "I go out there and pitch my game. Obviously today wasn't a good one against them, but hopefully the next one will be."
A's: Norris' status uncertain for Sunday's finale
Catcher Derek Norris has not yet fully recovered from the lower-back soreness that led to his early departure in Friday's game, leaving his status for a Sunday start in Miami up in the air.
Manager Bob Melvin said "it's a wait-and-see" type of thing.
Norris was "moving around a little slow" Saturday, according to Melvin, making him unavailable for the middle matchup of this three-game Interleague set. John Jaso made the start behind the plate against Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Norris is hitting .304 with a .406 on-base percentage this season.
Marlins: Yelich expected back in the lineup Sunday
Left fielder Christian Yelich, who went on the disabled list on June 16 with a lower-back strain, is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and is expected to play in the series finale.
Redmond initially thought about putting Yelich in center field and having Marcell Ozuna play left. But after giving it more thought, he intends to have Yelich play left.
"I know O's arm plays better in left, but I like O in center," Redmond said. "That's not to say we won't mix and match as well."
Yelich is batting .259 with a .342 on-base percentage and will bat leadoff, with Rafael Furcal sidelined indefinitely with a strained left hamstring.
• A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the first inning on Saturday. He was 2-for-7 in the A's 14-inning victory and is batting .360 (18-for-43) during the streak.
• Oakland closer Sean Doolittle had a 26 2/3-innings scoreless streak snapped on Saturday with a blown save in the ninth. With the A's leading, 6-5, and one out in the frame, Doolittle gave up a Giancarlo Stanton double followed by an RBI single by Casey McGehee that knotted the score at 7 and forced extra innings.
• Ozuna left Saturday's game with a cramp. As he was rounding first base on a flyout to left field in the seventh inning, he grabbed his right leg. He was ushered into the clubhouse following the play and was taken out of the game the next inning. Redmond believes Ozuna should be fine to play in the series finale.
• Stanton extended his hitting streak to nine games on Saturday with a 3-for-6 performance. Stanton is batting .472 (17-for-36) during the streak, with five doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.