Seattle (58-78) at Oakland (61-76)

Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA, US
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 2, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Oakland Athletics are relieved to be back home following a rough road trip against three playoff hopefuls. Facing the last-place Seattle Mariners may not offer much of a chance to relax.

The Athletics and Mariners square off Friday night in the opener of a weekend series.

Oakland (61-76) begins a six-game homestand after snapping a five-game skid with Thursday’s 7-0 win over the Indians. That wrapped up a 4-6 trip against the New York Yankees, Boston and Cleveland in which the pitching staff recorded a 5.65 ERA and served up 19 homers.

“I would have liked one more (win) at some point, but based on losing five in a row, we needed that one,” manager Bob Melvin told the A’s official website. “It makes the flight a lot better.”

Though the Mariners (58-78) have the fourth-worst record in the AL, they’ve gone 9-4 against the A’s and 4-2 in Oakland.

For the second time this season, Seattle’s Jason Vargas(notes) (7-12, 4.52 ERA) will be opposed by Oakland’s Guillermo Moscoso(notes) (6-8, 3.80).

On July 6, Vargas tossed a five-hitter for one of his four complete games in 2011, but Moscoso held the Mariners to two hits in seven innings of the 2-0 victory in Oakland.

Vargas is 1-7 with a 6.43 ERA in his last 10 starts. The left-hander had been 6-5 with a 3.57 ERA in his first 17 appearances of 2011.

He was ripped for a career high-tying nine runs in 5 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, and is 0-2 in his last three starts versus the A’s.

Meanwhile, Moscoso will be trying to overcome some recent inconsistency. After yielding one run in eight innings of a hard-luck loss to Toronto on Aug. 21, the right-hander was tagged for a career-high eight runs in four innings of Saturday’s 9-3 defeat against Boston.

“We’ve seen a lot of good outings from Guillermo. This wasn’t his best,” Melvin said of Moscoso, 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA at home.

Oakland’s Cliff Pennington(notes) had four hits and drove in three on Thursday. He batted .405 (17 for 42) with a homer and 10 RBIs on the trip, increasing his average 14 points to .272.

Pennington is 3 for 7 with a homer off Vargas this year.

However, Vargas has kept some of Oakland’s better players off the bases. Hideki Matsui(notes) is 0 for 8 while Josh Willingham(notes) has gone 0 for 6.

Willingham leads the A’s with 23 homers and 79 RBIs, but is hitting .246. Matsui is second on the team with 65 RBIs while batting .257.

Seattle, which is kicking off a six-game road trip through California, settled for a split of its four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels following Thursday’s 4-3 loss. Dustin Ackley(notes) had a two-run double and Ichiro Suzuki(notes) added a run-scoring single for half of the Mariners’ four hits.

Seattle is 2-13 when totaling four hits or less, but one of those wins came when 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez(notes) beat Oakland 1-0 on April 21.

Suzuki is hitting .370 (20 for 54) with eight multihit games against the A’s. The Mariners have won six of those contests.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Vargas KC vs. G. Moscoso SF
10-13 Record 8-10
4.25 ERA 3.38
131 K 74
59 BB 38
1.31 WHIP 1.09