Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre has been hot at the plate lately, and on Friday he was perfect.
Beltre looks to build off a big offensive night when the Mariners continue their four-game series with the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum on Saturday.
Beltre went 5-for-5 with two homers and two doubles in Friday’s 7-1 win. He has nine hits in 12 at-bats in his last three games after getting just three hits in his previous six contests.
“It was one of those days where everything goes good for you,” said Beltre, who has recovered after a June in which he hit just .190.
He could have a hard time keeping his hot streak going on Saturday. Beltre is just 1-for-12 with three strikeouts lifetime against Oakland’s Rich Harden (1-1, 1.17 ERA), who will make his first start since April 15.
Harden has made three appearances out of the bullpen since a stint on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, throwing four scoreless innings without receiving a decision as he regained his arm strength.
“He threw 46 (pitches) last time, and he felt pretty good after that,” manager Bob Geren told the Athletics’ official Web site. “So obviously we’ll increase that.”
Harden is 5-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 10 career appearances, including seven starts, against the Mariners and has won his last three starts and five decisions against them. The only defeat came in the right-hander’s only outing at home versus Seattle on Sept. 29, 2004, when he allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings.
The Mariners (47-36) improved to 2-3 under new manager John McLaren with Friday’s victory. They had won eight in a row before McLaren took over for Mike Hargrove, who abruptly resigned from the position, and are 3 1/2 games behind the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.
Seattle is 5-2 against the Athletics (44-42) this season after going just 2-17 against them last year.
Oakland, meanwhile, has dropped three of its last five games overall. Marco Scutaro, filling in for banged-up Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez at third base, tied an AL record with four errors at third base.
“It just wasn’t my day,” Scutaro said. “It happens.”
On the bright side, outfielder Shannon Stewart singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He is batting .481 (26-for-54) during the run.
The A’s will look to bounce back against Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (4-4, 4.11), who allowed two runs in eight innings of Seattle’s 11-inning, 3-2 loss in Kansas City on Monday. The 21-year-old right-hander, who went eight innings for the second time in three starts, had surrendered six runs and 11 hits over 5 2-3 innings in his previous outing - an 8-7 victory over Boston on June 26, when he did not get a decision.
Hernandez threw eight innings in a 4-0 home win against the A’s on April 2 in the season opener for both teams.