Oakland (19-19) lost four in a row last week, but have since rebounded, with a 6-1 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday before a 12-6 victory over Seattle (17-23) in the series opener on Tuesday.
Melhuse, a backup catcher, has only played in 13 games this season, but was the designated hitter on Tuesday.
“It’s a situation where you wonder if you had the at bats what you would do,” said Melhuse, who has three homers in five games. “When you know you’re getting regular at bats you relax easier and don’t put a lot of pressure on one game.”
Swisher has reached base in 33 straight games but has a long way to go to match the team record. Mark McGwire reached base in 62 consecutive games from Sept. 16, 1995-June 18, 1996.
“He’s been carrying us,” Athletics manager Ken Macha said of Swisher. “He’s been tremendous, more than probably we expected.”
Barry Zito (2-3, 3.75 ERA), who has pitched well in his last three starts but only has one victory to show for it, looks for another win over the Mariners.The left-hander has won four straight starts against the Mariners and is 10-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 20 career starts against them.
Over his last three outings, Zito has given up just two runs in 20 2-3 innings. He has been hurt by a lack of run support—the A’s are scoring only 2.63 runs in his starts, the second-lowest for any major league pitcher.
Only the pitcher opposing Zito on Wednesday, Jamie Moyer (1-3, 3.29), has gotten less support from his team. Seattle is scoring only 2.42 runs in his starts and Moyer hasn’t earned a decision in four of his starts despite not allowing more than three earned runs in any of his eight starts.
Moyer lost 1-0 to Tampa Bay on May 10, balking in the lone run. It was only the second time in major league history that the only run in a game came on a balk.
It was Moyer’s first balk since 2000 and denied him a chance for his second win of the season.
The 43-year-old left-hander, who took the loss against Oakland when Zito got the win in a 3-0 victory on April 8, is 17-13 with a 4.42 ERA against the Athletics.
He will be making the 46th start of his career against Oakland, the most against any team.