A's seek turnaround from Griffin in opener with Mariners

The playoff-hopeful Oakland Athletics have been pleased with what they have seen from starting pitcher A.J. Griffin and hope the youngster can right his own ship tonight in the opener of a three-game set versus the Seattle Mariners.

Griffin was 6-0 with a 1.94 earned run average in his first 11 starts, but is only 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA over the past two trips to the hill. Griffin allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings of a loss at Detroit on Sept. 18, then gave up four runs in 4 1/3 frames of a 5-4 loss at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. He did not record a decision that day and is 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 13 starts.

The right-hander, who is 2-0 in six home assignments, defeated Seattle on the road back on Sept. 7 in a 6-1 victory and struck out seven batters over 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball.

Oakland hopes Griffin can give a little bit more than what Travis Blackley did in Thursday's 9-7 loss at Texas, as he lasted only an inning and allowed five runs and five hits, including two homers. Jim Miller and Jeremy Accardo were both reached for two runs in two innings of relief.

"You see how we make these comebacks and fight, I feel helpless not to be able to help them myself," Blackley said. "They did it for us all year, and for me not to be able to get it done is not a good feeling."

Josh Reddick had two of Oakland's five home runs, while Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Derek Norris all went deep for the A's, who are still ahead of the LA Angels and Tampa Bay Rays for the final wild card berth.

Jonny Gomes had three hits and an RBI in defeat, as Oakland split its four- game series with the AL West-leading Rangers and sits four games of the pace in the division. Oakland, which went 4-6 on its road trip, had won three of four coming in and will host Texas for three games to close out the regular season.

The Mariners ended a three-game losing streak and salvaged the finale of their series with the Angels thanks to a 9-4 victory on Thursday. Hisashi Iwakuma limited the Halos to a pair of runs -- one earned -- in six innings for the win and struck out three batters. He did not issue a walk.

"Hisashi threw the ball well and kept us in it," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Putting that big inning together was good to see."

John Jaso clubbed a two-run homer and added an RBI double during a four-run seventh inning, while Jesus Montero had two RBI for the Mariners, who won for just the third time in 10 tries.

The Mariners have now homered in 16 straight games.

Seattle looks to play spoiler with Blake Beavan on the hill tonight and he ended a two-game slide his last time out in a 1-0 win over Texas. Beavan fired seven shutout innings to even his ledger at 10-10 in 24 starts and also lowered his earned run average to 4.64.

Beavan, a right-hander, is 5-6 in 13 road assignments and beat the Athletics back on April 15 with seven innings of three-run ball in a 5-3 triumph. He is 2-2 with a 6.46 ERA in four career starts against Oakland.

The A's lead the season series with Seattle, 9-7, and have won four straight and six of the last seven matchups between the teams.