Now that the Seattle Mariners have snapped their 10-game skid in Oakland, they’ll go for a sweep when they wrap up their two-game series with the Athletics on Thursday.
The Mariners (7-9) held the Athletics to just three hits in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory, their first in Oakland since Sept. 6, 2005. It was also the second time Seattle shut out the A’s (11-10) this season, including a 4-0 season-opening victory April 2 at Safeco Field.
The Mariners took two of three games in that series, and are trying to improve to 4-1 versus Oakland this season after losing 17 of 19 meetings between the AL West rivals in 2006.
Jose Guillen and Kenji Johjima homered Wednesday for the Mariners, who are going for their season-high third straight win overall. Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn earned his third career shutout, besting A’s starter Joe Blanton’s complete-game effort.
Oakland’s starting rotation has posted an impressive 2.07 ERA in 2007, holding opponents to three or fewer earned runs in all but one outing.
Joe Kennedy (0-2, 3.18 ERA) will look to continue that trend when he takes the mound on Thursday. The left-hander allowed one run, three hits and three walks over five innings in a 7-0 defeat to Texas on Saturday - his first start after a 10-day stretch when he only made one relief appearance.
“I don’t think I threw too many strikes,” Kennedy told the Athletics’ official Web site. “Overall, I felt like I pounded the zone with the fastball a lot…but with so many days off, your command is usually not there and your breaking ball and offspeed pitches are definitely not there - and that was the case today.”
Kennedy has allowed just one earned run in each of his three starts this season, but has lasted six innings in only one of those outings. He is 3-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 career games versus Seattle, including four starts.
He will be opposed by Miguel Batista (1-2, 8.83), who takes the ball for Seattle trying to rebound from a shaky start. The right-hander gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings of an 8-4 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
It was a setback from his previous quality start in a win over Texas.
“The (difference) was command of his pitches, probably,” manager Mike Hargrove told the Mariners’ official Web site. “He was up with a lot of his pitches and some of those got hit hard. That’s the biggest difference in this outing and his last one. His velocity was the same, but his command was not the same.”
Batista is 2-3 with a 6.62 ERA in 14 career games versus the A’s, including seven starts, but struggled in his season debut against them. He allowed eight runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings of a 9-0 defeat on April 4.
The veteran pitcher has been better at McAfee Coliseum, though, going 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA in six career games and holding the A’s to a .161 batting average.