Oakland (8-4) at Seattle (4-8)

Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Mon Apr 19, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Seattle Mariners are beginning to swing the bats with purpose.

The Mariners will try to follow up Sunday’s three-home run effort when they open a four-game series with the visiting Oakland Athletics.

Owners of an American League-low seven homers, the Mariners went against their norm on Sunday by bashing three in a 4-2 win over visiting Texas. The victory gave Seattle its first series win of the season.

Following a streak of 35 straight innings without a home run, Bret Boone, Raul Ibanez and Scott Spiezio cleared the fence Sunday in support of right-hander Joel Pineiro.

“It feels like an uphill fight every day, but that’s what makes you battle-tested,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said. “Nothing has come easy to us this season and to battle back and to get a couple of wins at home feels that much better.”

The Mariners have scored 52 runs in 12 games and sport a .264 team batting average, a far cry from the days when they had Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Tino Martinez, among others, hitting balls out on a consistent basis.

Still, Boone and others like catcher Dan Wilson are off to solid starts at the plate. Boone has four homers and is tied for the team lead with nine RBIs and Wilson has continued his career-long trend of hitting in the season’s first month.

Wilson is batting .367 and has reached base at least once in nine of the 10 games he has played. Fast starts are commonplace for Wilson. He is a .282 career hitter in April, the highest average of any month during the season.

As tempting as it is for Melvin to keep a hot bat in the lineup, he gave Wilson the day off Sunday.

“He’s probably our most consistent hitter right now. But with catchers, you can’t wear them down. Ben (Davis) is here for a reason, too, and it’s time for him to get going.”

The Athletics are coming off a 7-1 win over Anaheim on Sunday to take two of three in the series.

Third baseman Eric Chavez, who averaged 31 homers, 107 RBIs over the previous three seasons while hitting .282, has one home run and five RBIs in his first 12 games and is batting .239.

He becomes a free agent at the end of the season, but is determined not to let that become a distraction.

“I’m not to the point where I’m going to let it bother me,” said Chavez, who entered this season with a .271 average in April.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Redman Col vs. F. Garcia Atl
11-12 Record 13-11
4.71 ERA 3.81
102 K 184
68 BB 64
1.50 WHIP 1.22