Gil Meche’s career year has come to an abrupt halt.
Meche, who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2000 while recovering from shoulder surgery, entered this season with just 12 career victories. But he got off to a blazing start, winning 10 of his first 15 outings.
But he hasn’t won since a 10-6 victory over Anaheim on June 26 and is 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA over his last three starts.
In Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Kansas City, Meche surrendered five runs and eight hits over six innings, striking out six and walking just one.
However, Mariners manager Bob Melvin said he believes Meche is poised to rediscover his early season form.
“I thought Gil threw the ball pretty well,” Melvin said. “It was similar to what we had seen up until the last couple of outings. He established a breaking ball for strikes early and his fastball was fine.”
Seattle has won two straight for the first time since June 26-27 with Wednesday’s 6-0 victory. Ryan Franklin pitched a two-hitter and the Mariners capitalized on six walks by reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 5 GB, AL West. Mariners - 1st place, AL West.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Mulder (12-7, 3.21 ERA). Mulder is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA over his last three starts, including Saturday’s 9-4 loss to Minnesota. The 25-year-old left-hander allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings, striking out five and walking one. Mulder is 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA in eight career starts against Seattle.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Meche (10-6, 3.80 ERA). Meche is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against Oakland.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .287 avg.; Eric Chavez, 18 HRs; Tejada, 57 RBIs and 55 runs; Byrnes and Chavez, 7 SBs. Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .339 avg., and 26 SBs; Bret Boone, 25 HRs and 78 RBIs; Suzuki and Boone, 71 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 7-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - The A’s have been swept just three times this season and have recorded six sweeps. … Oakland’s starters are 1-5 with a 4.30 ERA in seven games since the All-Star break. … OF Byrnes is hitting .083 (5-for-60) with four doubles and one RBI over his last 15 games. Mariners - 2B Boone is hitting .391 with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs in 23 career at-bats against LHP Mulder. … RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki, out since June 11 with cracked ribs, will throw an extended bullpen session Thursday. Melvin said Sasaki could begin a rehab assignment as early as Aug. 1. … DH Edgar Martinez, still nursing a tight left calf, missed his second straight start Wednesday. His status for Thursday’s game remains uncertain.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 20-28 on the road; Mariners - 28-20 at home.
INJURIES: Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL. Mariners - DH Martinez (calf), day-to-day; INF Greg Colbrunn (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Sasaki (ribs), 15-day DL.