It’s been more than a month since the Oakland Athletics won a series. On Sunday, they’ll close out a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners trying for their first series victory since the last time the teams met.
The Athletics (59-70) have won two of the first three games between the teams, including 5-1 on Saturday. A victory Sunday would give Oakland its first series win since it took three of four against the Mariners (47-82) at home July 7-10, and its first road series win since sweeping San Francisco in June.
On Saturday, Bobby Crosby had three hits and drove in two runs while Daric Barton hit a two-run homer for Oakland, which is 8-28 since July 12, when it began the day four games out of first place in the AL West. Since then, the Athletics have fallen 19 1/2 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.
Seattle, which has the worst record in the AL and second-worst in the majors, was limited to five hits and was held scoreless until Wladimir Balentien’s RBI double in the seventh on Saturday.
Seattle, which has averaged 2.2 runs in its last five games, has lost 12 of its last 14.
Any combination of Angels wins and Mariners losses totaling two would eliminate Seattle from the West race, making it one of the earliest eliminations in franchise history.
Seattle hands the ball Sunday to Felix Hernandez (7-8, 3.23 ERA).
Hernandez is winless in his last six starts, during which he has a 4.14 ERA. In the first four of those starts, he held opponents to a combined eight earned runs, but he’s struggled in his last two. After allowing four runs against the Angels on Aug. 13, Hernandez gave up five runs and 11 hits over five innings of a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. He failed to strike out a batter for just the second time in his 97-start career.
The Mariners have scored six runs in Hernandez’s last four starts. Hernandez, who has the fourth-lowest run support average (3.87) among AL starters, is the last Seattle starter to win a game at Safeco Field, beating Cleveland on July 18.
“This was supposed to be a good season, and everything has gone wrong,” Hernandez told the Mariners’ official Web site.
He is 6-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 10 starts against the Athletics, going 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in two outings this season.
Dan Meyer (0-1, 5.52) makes his second start of the season for Oakland after he was called up from the minors on Thursday, just three days after was sent to Triple-A Sacramento.
In his only start, Meyer allowed three runs and six hits over five innings in a 10-2 loss to Detroit on Aug. 9.
Meyer’s only time facing Seattle was Sept. 19. He pitched 4 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits in a 9-5 loss.
The A’s are 7-5 against the Mariners this season, including 4-2 in Seattle.