A's Turn To Braden To End Skid

He's spent all week battling strep throat and a stomach virus, losing eight pounds in the process, and now Dallas Braden has to face a team that probably makes him a little queasy.

Last year in a start at Comerica Park, the A's left-hander gave up seven hits and eight runs -- including two homers by Magglio Ordonez in the same inning. Lifetime against the Tigers, he's 0-1 with a 12.34 ERA.

Though the video of that Aug. 12 outing might not be Dallas Braden's favorite, he's checked it again to see what he was doing wrong. He'd much rather watch his Aug. 1, 2007, outing, though, when he held Detroit to four hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

"If I'm going to tap into something, it might as well be that one -- not the Magglio Massacre," Braden said.

Braden said he is fine now after nearly missing his last start, at Boston on Sunday. He made it through 3 1/3 innings despite his illness, and he described himself as "zapped" afterward.

Braden joined the Oakland rotation after Joe Blanton was traded during the All-Star break.

Other A's Notes

--OF/DH Jack Cust was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before Thursday night's game at Toronto because of an infection in his right thumb. Emil Brown took Cust's spot in left field, batting fifth. The A's had a two-man bench for the game as a result, having sent down INF Gregorio Petit the day before to make room for LHP Gio Gonzalez.

--RHP Andrew Brown will resume throwing Saturday. The reliever went on the disabled list retroactive to July 26 with soreness in his right shoulder. This is his second stint on the DL; he was out with appendicitis in late May.

--DH Mike Sweeney, who had arthroscopic surgery on both knees June 11, is running the bases. Last week, Sweeney had said that he might have to have season-ending surgery on his left knee if he did not see improvement soon, but after taking a week off, his running sessions are better and there remains a chance he could return to the field this year.

--RHP Justin Duchscherer allowed more than three runs for just the third time this season, surrendering four runs with two outs in the fourth inning at Toronto. Going into Thursday, the major league ERA leader had allowed two runs or fewer in 16 of 19 starts and three runs or fewer in 17 of 19.

--RHP Brad Ziegler added another scoreless inning onto his major league record scoreless streak to start a career, which now stands at 35 innings. He allowed two two-out hits in the eighth before getting Brad Wilkerson to ground out to end the inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25.5 -- The percentage of Oakland's games in which the A's have scored no more than a run. The A's have scored the second fewest runs in the league, with 452, and their .319 on-base percentage is third lowest in the league.

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