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Hellickson on strategy for facing A's

The Rays matched their season-best winning streak of six games with a victory over Oakland on Friday and will turn the ball over to Jeremy Hellickson next, who hasn't lost a game all season for a Tampa team that has the best record in the Major Leagues.

Hellickson, 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA over five starts in 2012, has not factored into a decision in two career outings against the Athletics, but his Rays have won 12 of their past 13 games and last year's American League Rookie of the Year is feeling confident.

"I've seen them a few times, I don't see them a lot," Hellickson said about Oakland. "They've had a little bit of success against me. I think it can work both ways. They don't see me much. ... I feel really good right now."

Oakland will counter with veteran Bartolo Colon, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Athletics and carried the fifth-best WHIP in the American League into Friday's action.

Colon has pitched seven-plus innings in five of his six starts and has allowed two runs or less in four consecutive outings.

"He's got such a strong hand, such strong fingers," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Colon, who took a shutout into the ninth inning against Baltimore in his last outing before suffering the loss. "He's got like four different pitches. He's tough."

The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA this season and has a career 3.31 career ERA at Tropicana Field, his third-best mark against teams he's started at least 10 games against.

Oakland had a modest two-game winning streak snapped in Friday's loss, losing the first of the three-game set after going 5-2 against the Rays last season.

Rays: Home sweet home
• The Rays have won 10 consecutive games at home and, with a win Saturday, can match their franchise-best streak of 11 straight, set in 2008.

Tampa is 13-1 at Tropicana Field this season, a year after winning the fourth-most home games in the AL with 47.

Hellickson, who will make his third home start of the year Saturday, is 2-0 with a 0.83 ERA at the Trop this year and in his last 11 home starts is 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA.

• B.J. Upton, who didn't play in Thursday's matchup against Seattle due to tightness in his quadriceps, was back in action Friday and continued his hot start.

Upton didn't play his first game of the season until April 20 after recovering from a back injury sustained in Spring Training, but has provided the Rays with the type of production they have come to expect from him -- and will need in the absence of All-Star Evan Longoria.

The center fielder has multihit games in four of his past six contests, collecting four extra-base hits over that stretch, while increasing his average to .350 on the season.

Athletics: Runs hard to come by
• The Athletics have scored the fewest runs in the AL this season and face a difficult task against a Tampa rotation that entered Friday tied with Oakland for the third-best ERA in the AL.

The major difference between the two teams is that the Rays are providing their starters plenty of support by scoring the fifth-most runs in the league entering Friday.

Free-agent acquisition Jonny Gomes is Oakland's only player with an OPS above .800 and rookie Yoenis Cespedes is the only member of the A's that has driven in more than 10 runs on the year.

• Cespedes has had an impressive start to his Major League career, leading all rookies with five homers and 20 RBIs entering Friday, while leading all AL rookies with 10 extra-base hits.

With a hit in Friday's loss to Tampa, Cespedes extended his personal-best hitting streak to five games.

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