Mariners-Athletics Preview

Oakland's sweep of Seattle last month put in motion a road winning streak that stretched on for its first seven games, but that road form has since fallen off.

The Mariners don't have that kind of winning streak, but they've been more than capable away from home and have had similar success in Oakland for nearly two years.

Seattle has a chance to get back at the Athletics this week with three in the East Bay beginning Monday night with Nathan Karns hoping to build off an impressive outing.

Oakland (13-13) won three at Seattle from April 8-10 while holding the Mariners (13-11) to four runs and a .155 average. Seattle, however, has won four straight series in Oakland and is 12-5 there since dropping two of three from April 3-5, 2014.

The Mariners are yet to lose a road series, going 8-4 while taking two of three in four different sets. They also won two of three in both their recent home series, though Sunday's 4-1 loss to Kansas City denied them a sweep. They've won five straight series for the first time since a run of six from May 18-June 5, 2011.

The little offense Seattle got Sunday again involved Seth Smith, who was 2 for 3 with a run scored and is batting .389 in his last five with two home runs and a double. The right fielder is batting .317 with a .990 OPS after being at .241 and .714 on May 2 in his first season with Seattle.

"I think his approach from the first day of spring training has been fantastic," manager Scott Servais told MLB's official website. "He's not trying to do too much. He's used the whole field. He's a guy they typically shift against a lot, and multiple times he's beat the shift because he is using the whole field.

"Just the quality of the at-bat and the consistency of it is great to see."

He'll be out to support Karns (2-1, 3.63 ERA), who didn't need much help in his latest effort. The right-hander yielded two hits with three walks in seven scoreless innings of Tuesday's 11-1 home win over Houston.

"He established it from the get-go, he was going to be in control," Servais said. "When you see that confidence come from your starting pitcher and really good tempo, it really dictates the rest of the game."

Control has held him back from going that deep into more games with Karns issuing 11 walks in 17 1/3 innings of his last three starts. Still, that's been the route to success for him so far after opening the season by allowing four runs and seven hits with one walk in five innings of a 6-1 loss to Oakland on April 9.

Karns has lost both career starts against the A's with a 5.06 ERA and .318 opponent average. Josh Reddick (2 for 5) and Marcus Semien (2 for 7) have both homered off him.

The A's counter with Kendall Graveman, whose start to the season went the other way in his latest outing. Graveman (1-2, 4.03) surrendered six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings of last Monday's 7-3 loss in Detroit after giving up four runs and 10 hits in 17 2/3 innings of his first three starts. Three home runs were the difference.

"You've just got to execute and not fall behind, and also make more meaningful pitches early in the count," said Graveman, who's 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in a start and two relief efforts against Seattle.

The A's also just missed out on a sweep because of Sunday's 2-1 loss to Houston, dropping them to an AL-worst 5-8 at home with 2.77 runs scored per game.