After splitting a pair of one-run contests that were decided in the ninth inning, the A’s and Mariners close out their set on Sunday in Seattle.
The Mariners (14-10) swept three games from the A’s last month in Oakland, and Jose Lopez’s single in the ninth gave them an 8-7 win on Friday night to extend their winning streak in the series.
But Oakland (9-12) finally returned the favor Saturday, when Gregorio Petit’s RBI single in the final inning lifted the A’s to a 3-2 victory. Last-place Oakland now trails the first-place Mariners by just 3 1/2 games in the AL West.
Petit’s big hit capped a 3-for-4 game in his season debut in the majors. He was 8-for-23 in a few brief stints last year, but he had never driven in a run.
“When I get in the game I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can,” Petit said. “I just tried to do my best and everything came nice and I’m happy.”
Jason Giambi had two hits and two RBIs for the power-starved A’s, who were again held without a home run and are last in the majors with 10.
They’ll need to rely on pitching if their offense continues to struggle, and left-hander Josh Outman hasn’t been much help so far. Outman (0-0, 5.23 ERA) struggled in his first two starts this season before being shifted to the bullpen, but he’ll return to the rotation Sunday.
His first stint as a starter also began against the Mariners. He allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings on April 11, but didn’t get a decision in an 8-5 loss.
That was one day after Seattle’s Chris Jakubauskas (1-3, 5.23) earned his only career victory, which came in relief against the A’s.
The 29-year-old rookie was then inserted into the rotation. While he’s lost all three of his starts, he rebounded from an ugly outing against Tampa Bay on April 22 by throwing a two-hitter with one walk in a 2-1 road loss on Tuesday to the Chicago White Sox.
“He mixed his pitches, he mixed the rotation well. I just saw a calmer pitcher out there,” Mariners rookie manager Don Wakamatsu told his team’s official Web site. “To come back and settle down and pitch well again, those are the things you’re looking for in a young pitcher.”
Seattle could use the help from its starters after closer Brandon Morrow went on the disabled list Saturday with biceps tendinitis. Jarrod Washburn did his part with seven strong innings, but Mark Lowe and David Aardsma combined to give up two runs in the last two innings.
Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan continued his hot start by homering in his second straight game. Branyan, a journeyman who is playing for his eighth team in the last eight seasons, is hitting .344 with six homers and 14 RBIs.