Barry Zito hopes July brings him more success than he had in June.
Zito struggled in June, going 1-1 with a 4.06 ERA in six starts. The crafty left-hander has just one victory in his last eight starts while struggling through bad innings and bad luck.
He was cruising along on Saturday against the San Francisco Giants before allowing six runs in the fourth inning. Though he escaped without the loss in the Athletics’ 8-7, 10-inning defeat, Zito ended up allowing a season-high 10 hits.
“I was scratching my head, wondering what I had to do,” Zito said. “I’m kind of baffled. Except for that crazy fourth inning, I felt good. It’s pretty unreal.”
Zito has fared well in his career against the Mariners, going 5-1 with a 3.42 ERA in eight starts.
By dropping two of the first three games in the series, Oakland has fallen seven games behind Seattle in the AL West.
The Mariners, who lost 3-2 in 11 innings Tuesday, have won five of the last six series against the A’s.
Joel Pineiro pitched three-hit ball over eight innings to win his fourth straight start as Seattle rolled to a 13-0 win on Wednesday.
Every Seattle player had at least one hit and all but Greg Colbrunn scored a run. Seattle’s 20 hits matched a season high also established May 27 at Kansas City.
The Mariners will throw right-hander Ryan Franklin against Zito. Franklin went 2-3 with a 3.53 ERA in June. He’s 0-2 with a 4.98 ERA over his last two starts.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 7 GB, AL West.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Franklin (6-6, 3.49 ERA). The 30-year-old righty was roughed up for six runs and eight hits in a 6-0 loss to San Diego on Saturday. Franklin has yielded seven home runs over his last three starts.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Zito (7-5, 3.17 ERA). The reining AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA over his last four starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .343 avg. and 21 SBs; Boone, 22 HRs, 69 RBIs and 62 runs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .326 avg., 50 runs and 7 SBs; Eric Chavez, 16 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 55 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 6-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - OF Suzuki is batting .360 (9-for-25) with two home runs against LHP Zito. … 1B John Olerud has missed two straight games with a strained right hamstring. … The Mariners have gone 33 games without allowing an unearned run. Athletics - Oakland has lost six of nine overall. … LHP Zito’s 3.17 ERA is fifth-lowest in the AL. … SS Tejada is mired in a 2-for-17 slump. Tejada has a .262 career batting average against Seattle.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 30-12 on the road; Athletics - 29-13 at home.