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A's starting to pay for offensive funk

ANAHEIM -- The A's offensive output in their first series out of the All-Star break hasn't been all that much different than it was in the two series leading up to it.

Except, of course, in one key category: wins.

After going 4-2 against the Red Sox and Pirates, Oakland has dropped two straight to the American League West-rival Angels, scoring just one run in the 18 innings.

"You get in a funk because guys are trying to do too much," said shortstop Jed Lowrie, who has been one of the offense's bright spots this season, hitting .294. "Hypothetically it's pretty easy, but over the course of the season you're going to have streaks like that collectively, and individually and you just have to find ways to minimize those."

In their last eight contests, the A's have scored just 13 runs, but they've gone 4-4 thanks to some steady pitching. During that time, however, they are hitting just .159 with 39 hits -- tying the fewest by an Oakland club over an eight-game stretch in the last 34 years.

Manager Bob Melvin attributed the funk to "the ebbs and flows of the season."

"You try to mix things up sometimes," Melvin said. "If you feel like you're in a funk, you maybe cancel batting practice one day, or there are a lot of things you can do to maybe shake things up. You have to grind through it."

The A's haven't had much luck in terms of finding a rhythm, however. Batting practice was canceled on Saturday because of rain and wasn't held before Sunday's 12:35 p.m. PT first pitch.

"It takes a little bit away from getting back into your routine and in a little bit more of a groove," Melvin acknowledged. "But this game also is so psychological that all it takes is a good game or two, and now you're back and running."

The A's are without the services of left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has missed the first two games with a sore left wrist. As a club, they're hitting just .243 on the season -- 13th in the AL. Still, they're eighth in runs and ninth in OPS -- numbers that, when paired with their deep pitching staff, have boosted them to two games ahead of the Rangers in the AL West race.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.
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