“You can’t say enough about him,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “Who knows where we’d be without him? We knew he had this energy about him, but he hadn’t had a chance to play every day. The amount of work he’s put in really prepared him to take over this season.”
Byrnes will try to help the A’s close the gap on the American League West-leading Seattle Mariners when the teams open a four-game series at Network Associates Coliseum. Oakland currently trails Seattle by six games.
On Sunday, Byrnes hit for the cycle for the first time in his career, helping the A’s break a two-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.
“It’s hard to describe the feelings that went through my body,” said Byrnes, who also tied the A’s franchise record with five hits.
Byrnes raised his batting average to .336—fifth in the American League— and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He’s batting .364 (20-for-55) during that span.
“It’s amazing what he’s been doing,” A’s pitcher Mark Mulder said. “When we started out the season and he was raking, you think, ‘OK, they just don’t know him yet. They’ll figure him out.’ But they still haven’t.”
Seattle ace Jamie Moyer will be the latest to try to figure Byrnes out.
Moyer will also be trying to help the Mariners avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season.
Seattle dropped the final two games of its three-game set with the San Diego Padres, the National League’s worst team, including an 8-6 defeat on Sunday.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 6 GB, AL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Moyer (10-5, 3.14 ERA). On Wednesday, Moyer went five innings, giving up four runs and seven hits in a 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Angels. In 34 career games against the A’s, Moyer is 14-10 with a 4.14 ERA.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Harang (1-1, 4.98 ERA). Harang has allowed no more than three earned runs in three consecutive starts. On Wednesday, he went 5 1-3 innings, giving up three runs and eight hits, but he did not get a decision in the A’s 9-8 loss to the Texas Rangers. Harang has no record and a 0.00 ERA in two career games against Seattle.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .344 avg. and 21 SBs; Bret Boone, 22 HRs, 66 RBIs and 61 runs. Athletics - Byrnes, .336 avg., 50 runs and 7 SBs.; Eric Chavez, 16 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 55 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - CF Mike Cameron is hitless with five strikeouts in his career against RHP Harang. … Seattle is 48-3 when leading after eight. … LHP Arthur Rhodes gave up five runs and four hits without recording an out Sunday. He had not allowed a run in his previous 16 appearances, a span of 14 1-3 innings. Athletics - C Ramon Hernandez is just 2-for-28 (.071) in his career against LHP Moyer. … 3B Chavez is batting .385 (10-for-26) in his last six games. … The A’s are 28-12 when scoring first.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 28-11 on the road; Athletics - 28-11 at home.