OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - If Justin Upton faces Gio Gonzalez in the All-Star game, at least he'll have a little better idea of what to do.
``I really don't remember if we've faced him before,' Upton said after the Arizona Diamondbacks fell to Gonzalez and the Athletics 7-2 on Sunday. ``He had good stuff and he beat us. His fastball is just as good as his curveball. He kept us off-balance.'
Upton has been the Diamondbacks' best hitter through the first half of the season. If he maintains his current .298 batting average, it would be the best mark for a Diamondbacks' player entering the All-Star break since Eric Byrnes hit .307 in 2007.
``He's been consistent over the last month,' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ``He's played well and he's matured a lot. He's a good representative for us.'
The Diamondbacks have lost six of eight games and dropped their third consecutive series, a first this year.
``Every game we can win at this point is important,' Upton said. ``Knowing the break is coming up means we can lay it all on the line. We have to go out with some energy and intensity and get as many games as we can.'
Conor Jackson and Scott Sizemore each hit a two-run homer and Gonzalez struck out seven to lead the A's.
David DeJesus also drove in two runs for the A's, who won for the fourth time in 11 games since a six-game winning streak ended. Jemile Weeks drove in a run and Sizemore had three hits.
``I'm not going to hit a lot of home runs but it's nice to hit one,' Sizemore said. ``He left a change up and I saw it well out of his hand and hit it pretty well.'
Jackson and Sizemore each their homers in the sixth, the first time the A's have hit two home runs in an inning all season. They also scored at least five runs in an inning for just the third time.
Xavier Nady and Sean Burroughs drove in runs for the Diamondbacks, who lost their third consecutive series and have lost four of their last five games.
``We had a lot of chances but we were unable to take advantage,' Kirk Gibson said. ``Gio is pretty good and you have to give him credit. He knows how to pitch. He has electric stuff.'
Gonzalez (8-5) allowed a run and walked three in seven innings. He is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA over his last four starts. He's third in the AL with a 2.31 ERA after throwing a career-high 119 pitches.
Ian Kennedy (8-3) lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs on a season-high 10 hits. He walked two and struck out six.
``The command wasn't the same,' Kennedy said. ``I wasn't executing the same as I was in the first couple innings. It was me not throwing enough strikes.'
Kennedy lost for the second time since April 13 and for the first time on the road. He extended his streak of consecutive games with at least 100 pitches to 15, matching the longest active streak in the NL with Philadelphia's Roy Halladay.
``Ian has been terrific for us,' Upton said. ``This is going to happen. They just got to him.'
Arizona loaded the bases with no outs against Michael Wuertz in the eighth. Upton doubled leading off and both Chris Young and Stephen Drew walked.
Joey Devine relieved Wuertz and got the next two hitters before Burroughs' pinch-hit single drove in Upton. Matsui's throw got Young, who did not slide, at the plate. It was Matsui's first outfield assist since May 23, 2008 against the Seattle Mariners.
NOTES: A's RHP Brandon McCarthy was activated from the 15-day disabled list and will start Monday. The A's optioned LHP Josh Outman to Triple-A Sacramento to make room. ``It was not performance-based,' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ``It was a numbers thing.' ... Arizona OF Justin Upton has manager Kirk Gibson's blessing if he wants to participate in the All-Star home run derby. ``If he wants to do it and he's asked, I have no problem with it,' Gibson said. ... Game time temperature was 83 degrees, the season's hottest day in Oakland. ... A's OF Josh Willingham (strained left Achilles' tendon) suffered a setback following two rehab games and is day-to-day. ``It stiffened up on him,' Melvin said. ... RHPs Grant Balfour (strained right oblique) and Tyson Ross (strained left oblique) threw off the bullpen mound before the game. ... DeJesus is four doubles shy of 200.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved