The Athletics (32-31) try to continue their domination of the Mariners (31-34) when the AL West rivals open a three-game set at McAfee Coliseum on Tuesday.
Oakland and Seattle have each won nine of their last 11 following their worst stretches of 2006. The A’s, though, have won six of seven meetings with the Mariners, and their six-game winning streak in the series is their longest since taking 11 in a row against Seattle from June 22-Sept. 18, 1992.
Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.60 ERA) has accounted for two of those wins and will take the mound for Oakland on Tuesday. The right-hander pitched eight innings and gave up two hits in a 5-0 victory over Seattle on April 7, and allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings of a 12-6 win on May 16.
In 15 innings against the Mariners this season, Blanton has issued one walk while striking out eight and holding Seattle to a .188 average.
“It’d be nice if he could pitch against the Mariners every week,” A’s manager Ken Macha said of Blanton, who’s 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six career starts against Seattle. “He seems to be a tough matchup for them.”
Blanton has not been as nearly as tough against other teams, though, and is coming off an 11-2 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings, failing to get beyond the fifth for the third time in four starts.
The A’s went 1-10 from May 20-30, but have rebounded with series wins over Minnesota, Cleveland and the New York Yankees. Oakland beat New York 6-5 on Sunday to complete its first sweep at Yankee Stadium since July 1994 and cap a 5-1 road trip.
“We’re confident. We’re riding high,” A’s right fielder Milton Bradley said. “Any time you come in here and sweep the Yankees, it’s a big deal.”
A’s first baseman Dan Johnson had two homers in Sunday’s win and is batting .450 (9-for-20) during a six-game hitting streak. Huston Street earned his fourth save in four days for the first time in his career, pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Oakland, one game over .500 for the first time since May 21, is trying for its fifth straight win, which would tie its season high. The A’s have won 17 of their last 22 against the Mariners, who completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 6-2 win Sunday.
Seattle dropped a season-high six in a row from May 25-30, but has lost just twice since then, outscoring opponents 77-43 in its last 11 games.
Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is batting .536 (30-for-56) during a 12-game hitting streak. He’s 7-for-18 in his career against Blanton.
“Obviously, we’ve got some guys who are hot,” Mariners hitting coach Jeff Pentland said. “We’re scoring more runs. … That’s the name of the game.”
Jamie Moyer (3-5, 3.86) tries to rebound from his shortest outing of the season when he takes the ball for Seattle. The left-hander gave up four runs and 10 hits over five innings Wednesday, but didn’t receive a decision in a 10-9 victory over Minnesota.
Moyer is 17-14 with a 4.49 ERA in 46 appearances against the Athletics. He’s struggled against them this season, losing starts on April 8 and May 17. The 43-year-old left-hander lasted only 11 2-3 innings in those defeats, posting a 6.17 ERA and allowing the A’s to bat .370.
Moyer’s biggest challenge Tuesday may be getting out Oakland center fielder Mark Kotsay, who’s hitting .600 (18-for-30) with five doubles, a triple and a home run against the left-hander.
Moyer is 1-3 with a 6.20 ERA on the road this season.