For a team that leads the majors in runs this month, the Oakland Athletics haven't shown it the past few games. Today, they look to close out a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on a high note.
The Athletics dropped a 3-2 decision to Seattle on Tuesday after 1-0 victory in the series opener, and lead the major leagues with 120 runs in June. They entered last night's contest with an American League-best 75 extra-base hits and recorded just two in the most recent visit to Safeco Field.
Yoenis Cespedes homered and Seth Smith added a double, while Jonny Gomes drove in the other run for Oakland, which had won 10 of 13 games. The A's also struck out 14 times, bringing their total for the first two games of the series to 25. Oakland leads the AL with 203 strikeouts.
"That's a lot of strikeouts," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We don't typically strikeout that much and went on quite a run there, five (strikeouts) in a row, so this wasn't our finest hour the last two days offensively."
Travis Blackley started for the Athletics and gave up only two runs in seven innings for the no-decision. Jim Miller was saddled with the loss for allowing the go-ahead run to score in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brendan Ryan's RBI single scored Casper Wells to put Seattle up to stay.
Oakland, which will also visit Texas on this seven-game trek and had a season high-tying four-game road winning streak stopped, will hand the ball to Jarrod Parker this evening in hopes of earning a series victory. Parker is 2-1 in his last three decisions and did not record a decision in Friday's 5-4 loss to San Francisco in which he hurled six innings of one-run ball and struck out four.
Parker is 3-3 in 11 starts to go along with a 2.70 earned run average and has never faced the Angels. The right-hander has allowed one run or fewer in five of his past six outings.
Seattle prevailed for only the fifth time in 16 tries last night and is now 1-1 on a 10-game homestand. Ryan's run-scoring single that plated Wells in the ninth was the difference, while Mariners starter Jason Vargas struck out a career high-tying 10 batters in 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs. Vargas had lost his previous three starts.
"You could tell right from the beginning of the ball game that he was more aggressive," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "His arm action was more consistent, his changeup fed off his fastball very well, just really commanded the ballgame, did a great job."
Erasmo Ramirez struck out 10 on Monday, marking the first time in almost 13 years two Mariners had at least 10 strikeouts in back-to-back games. Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia were the last two Seattle pitchers to strike out at least 10 in consecutive appearances on Aug. 23 and 24, 1999.
Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush actually picked up the win with a scoreless eighth inning and Tom Wilhelmsen recorded his sixth save in the ninth. Furbush struck out three and has posted at least one K in each of his last 17 games -- the longest streak since Rafael Soriano did it in 21 straight games in 2001. Wilhelmsen has not yielded a run in his previous 15 2/3 IP (13 games).
Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-3 with a run scored and is riding a seven-game hitting streak. He was the club's designated hitter on Tuesday for the first time this season and needs one home run for 100 in his career. Franklin Gutierrez and Kyle Seager were both credited with an RBI in a winning cause.
Seattle is in the midst of playing 19 of 25 games at Safeco Field.
Kevin Millwood gets the call for the Mariners on Wednesday and he is 0-2 with a 4.68 earned run average in his last five starts. Millwood wasn't at his best in Friday's 9-5 loss at San Diego, as he surrendered eight runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in five innings to fall to 3-6 in 14 starts with a 4.02 ERA.
Millwood, who combined with five relievers to no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8, has fared well in 18 career starts against Oakland, going 6-4 with a 3.72 ERA.
Seattle is 6-3 this season against the A's.