McCarthy dealing as A's ace

The following are updates on area Major League Baseball players.

Brandon McCarthy (Glendale native) starting pitcher, Oakland Athletics: McCarthy has worn the mantle of staff ace well for the Athletics lately, going 3-0 in his past three starts, including his best outing of the season in a 3-1 home win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Over seven scoreless innings, McCarthy allowed four hits, no walks and struck out a career-high 10 batters. He finished his day strong, retiring the heart of the Tigers' lineup — Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young — on swinging strikeouts.

McCarthy's current win streak, which includes decisions over the Baltimore Orioles on April 27 and Boston Red Sox on May 2, has lowered his earned-run average from 3.38 to 2.56 and improved his record to 3-3 with 36 strikeouts.

While the winning is a recent trend, McCarthy's consistent efforts have been there all season. He's allowed more than two earned runs just once in eight starts and has gone at least six innings in all but one game.

Oakland, which was 19-18 and in second place in the American League West coming into Wednesday, takes on the Texas Rangers, McCarthy's former club, today at 5:05 p.m. PDT with McCarthy scheduled to take the hill.

Marco Estrada (Glendale Community College, 2003) pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers: Since being taken from the bullpen and being inserted into the starting rotation, the former Vaquero has had mixed results, but appears to be locked in as the No. 5 starter for now.

Estrada made his first start of the season on April 21 after Chris Narveson was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a season-ending rotator cuff injury and he allowed just one earned run on two hits in a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies, while striking out nine to no walks.

Consecutive losses to the St. Louis Cardinalsand Cincinnati Reds followed, in which Estrada gave up a combined nine earned runs on 15 hits, but he bounced back with a quality start on Sunday against the Cubs (six innings pitched, two earned runs). Once again, however, Estrada didn't factor into the decision and is still seeking his first win at 0-2 with a 4.20 ERA and 27 strikeouts to six walks.

Estrada will get the Minnesota Twins at home for his next start on Friday at 5:10 p.m. PDT when the Brewers (16-20 and in fourth place in the National League Central heading into Wednesday) begin a homestand.

Freddy Sanchez (Glendale Community College, 1998) second baseman, San Francisco Giants: A return to the field continues to be pushed back for the ailing Sanchez, who is now reportedly suffering from a lower back injury after spending the entirety of the season so far on the disabled list because of setbacks involving his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

The San Jose Mercury News reported on Wednesday that Sanchez visited a back specialist on Tuesday and received an epidural injection.

There is no definite timetable for Sanchez' return.

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