Seattle Sizzlin' at Safeco

The Seattle Mariners were terrible against the Oakland Athletics last season. Now, they're using their four-game series against the A's to bounce back from a season-high losing streak.

Looking to clinch its fourth straight series win against Oakland, Seattle goes for its third consecutive victory in Sunday's finale at Safeco Field.

The Mariners were outscored 124-64 in losing 17 of their 19 meetings against the Athletics in 2006. This year, however, they have outscored the A's 51-32 to go 9-3 against them.

After losing the opener of this series for its seventh straight defeat, Seattle (56-46) has won back-to-back games. The Mariners managed only four hits on Saturday, but came away with a 4-3 victory thanks to Yuniesky Betancourt's tiebreaking home run in the fifth inning.

The victory helped Seattle keep pace with the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels, whom the Mariners trail by four games. Seattle also moved within three games of wild card-leading Cleveland.

Oddsmakers from have made Seattle -139 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Oakland +121 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima entered Saturday with a .145 batting average in his last 17 games, but delivered a game-tying two-run home run in the second inning. He is batting .316 in Seattle's wins, compared to his .213 average in the team's losses.

"I was feeling a lot better a couple of days ago, even though the hits were not there," Johjima said. "But it's gradually coming."

Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 4.05 ERA) will start the finale in search of his first victory since a three-start win streak June 23-July 4. The left-hander, 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts, didn't get a decision after giving up three runs in 5 2-3 innings of Seattle's 4-3 loss at Texas on Tuesday.

Washburn is 8-12 with a 3.87 ERA in 29 career starts against the Athletics. He has lost four of his last five decisions against them, but is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against them this year. Washburn held Oakland to three hits in his only shutout of the season April 25.

"I was pretty locked in," he said. "It's one of the best games I've ever pitched. I was by no means dominating, but I was able to make them mis-hit the ball."

The Athletics (49-55) have lost back-to-back games to fall to 5-11 since the All-Star break. Oakland hasn't been further under .500 since June 2005.

Mark Kotsay, who entered this season batting .323 in his career against the Mariners, fell to 3-for-19 (.158) against them this year with an 0-for-4 performance on Saturday.

"Obviously, I didn't have a good day. I left five guys on," Kotsay told the Athletics' official Web site. "With the bases loaded there, I hit it hard but right at the second baseman. I squared it up, but just not a positive result. That's kind of the story of the year for me."

The A's will try to rebound with Lenny DiNardo (5-6, 2.41) on the mound in search of his third straight win. The left-hander has allowed only one run and six hits in 13 2-3 innings over his last two starts, including a 4-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday. He held Los Angeles to one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings.

DiNardo, a reliever for most of his career, hasn't recorded a decision in four career games against the Mariners, but has posted a 1.54 ERA against them. In his lone start against Seattle on July 7, he allowed only three hits in 6 1-3 shutout innings, but the Athletics lost 4-0.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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