Oakland had two eight-game losing streaks last month and fell a season-high 15 games below .500 on May 29. The A’s have since gone 18-8, third-best in the majors during that span.
“May was not a representation of this team. I never felt like it was,” general manager Billy Beane said. “We were struggling because we were hurt. It wasn’t an excuse. It was a fact. … We still have a long way to go.”
Beane’s team has won four straight and eight of nine, giving up an average of just two runs per game.
Oakland got out of the AL West basement this weekend for the first time since May 20, leaving Seattle in last place.
The Mariners, expected to improve this season with the additions of Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, were above .500 in late April but went on to lose 10 of 11 and haven’t recovered. Seattle got within five games of the break-even mark last Sunday, only to lose five of its next seven.
After losing three of four at home to Oakland, the Mariners lost two of three to San Diego despite outscoring the Padres 24-17. Seattle lost 5-4 in Sunday’s series finale.
“Without a doubt, losing two out of three is frustrating,” said Seattle second baseman Bret Boone, who homered for the first time in 20 games. “But we played well, made all the plays and got key hits when we needed to get them.”
Oakland had a more enjoyable Sunday, matching the franchise record for largest margin of a shutout victory, 16-0 over San Francisco.
Crosby’s return and Swisher’s emergence are big reasons Oakland has turned things around.
Crosby, who sat out nearly the entire first two months of the season with broken ribs, is batting .316 with 18 runs scored in 24 games. He has hit safely in 13 of the last 14 games.
Swisher, a 2002 first-round pick, is batting .299 with 22 RBIs in 23 games since May 30. He hit .200 with nine RBIs in his first 28 games of the season.
“I’m excited, but not for me,” said Swisher, who has five homers in his last nine games. “I’m excited for the team, for the way we’ve been playing.”
Tuesday’s game is a rematch of Seattle’s 5-4, 12-inning victory on Wednesday, when Jamie Moyer and Barry Zito both pitched 7 1-3 solid innings. While Moyer allowed three runs and eight hits with one walk, Zito gave up a run and four hits.
Zito is 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA in three outings against Seattle this season. The only victory came in Oakland, where the left-hander is 7-0 with a 3.48 ERA in eight starts against the Mariners.