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SD@MIL: Ohlendorf pitches 4 1/3 in relief, earns win

Princeton graduate Ross Ohlendorf knows a thing or two about the potential value of a good starting pitcher. The 29-year-old righty has a degree in Operations Research and Financial Engineering, and wrote a 126-page thesis on the investments made and returns reaped by Major League clubs with Draft picks from 1989-93. So Ohlendorf, who has been tabbed as the Padres starter for Saturday's game in Oakland, should understand just how valuable a strong start would be to his team and its injury-riddled pitching staff.

The Padres have certainly made their share of investments in starting pitchers this season -- 12, to be exact, including Ohlendorf on Saturday. They've had to, as four different starters have landed on the disabled list this year, including three projected as part of the San Diego starting rotation out of Spring Training (Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley and Cory Luebke). They've been forced to dip into their bullpen for the likes of Anthony Bass and Andrew Cashner, and into free agency, for the likes of Jason Marquis, whose stock is rising with just two earned runs yielded in 12 innings of work for the Padres.

Ohlendorf hopes to do the same in his first Major League start of 2012. He was 4-3 with a 4.61 ERA for Boston's Triple-A club prior to landing on the Padres roster June 4.

"He's got some experience," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's been around the block and handled it well."

Starters are also in demand for the A's, who were left scrambling for someone to oppose Ohlendorf when Brandon McCarthy's shoulder injury flared up earlier this week. They settled on right-hander Tyson Ross from Triple-A Sacramento. This will be Ross' second stint in the big leagues this season. He was 2-6 with a 6.51 ERA before being sent down on May 31.

"I think it's well documented that he needs to use more than just one pitch," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Needs to be a little less predictable."

A's: So it's not just Coors
If the 10 runs they scored Friday night at home are any indication, the A's' offensive explosion this week was not just due to the friendly air at Coors Field. Coming into this week, the A's were among the Majors' worst offenses in both batting average and runs scored, but they have caught fire of late, to the tune of 36 runs in their past four games.

"There were days we swung the bat pretty well in Arizona too," Melvin said. "We're trying to feed off the momentum that we have offensively. A lot of the balls we hit, I feel like, in Colorado would've gone out in any ballpark. I thought we had good at-bats across the board, and again, we'd like to have a little carryover for that. We expect to."

Padres: Forsythe to miss a few
Padres infielder Logan Forsythe returned from a lengthy stint on the disabled list two weeks ago but is sitting again for San Diego with a sore left abdomen. Forsythe, who was a late scratch from the series finale with the Mariners on Thursday night, did not play Friday.

"We will give it a couple of days," Forsythe said. "I think we caught it kind of early. We're being cautious about it."

Forsythe missed the first 54 games of the season with a broken foot but has been a consistent presence for the Padres since his return, hitting .290 in nine games with five RBIs. One of those came in the bottom of the ninth against division-rival San Francisco in the form of a walk-off home run, Forsythe's first Major League round-tripper.

A natural third baseman, Forsythe had settled at second base. He and shortstop Everth Cabrera, who is .315 (23 for 73) in his past 21 games, are quickly establishing themselves as an everyday part of the Padres lineup, which had been lacking a consistent double-play combination for the first two months of the season.

Worth noting
• With the win, the A's won four games in a row for the first time since last September. Both teams came into Friday night's opener with a chance to win four in a row after not doing so since 2011.

• Yoenis Cespedes was not in the lineup for the A's Friday, though Melvin said he would be available as a DH in this weekend's series. Cespedes aggravated his left hamstring injury Wednesday.

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