Mariners 7, Athletics 4
SEATTLE (AP)—Even though they’re out of postseason contention, the Seattle Mariners are trying to pile up the wins.
Although their final series is meaningless because they were eliminated Thursday, manager Bob Melvin is sticking with his regular lineup.
“Our fans deserve that here,” Melvin said. “Our fans are coming out in full force, so we owe them our best effort. At the very least, we owe them that.”
Substituting liberally, manager Ken Macha watched his AL West champs lose to the Mariners for the second straight game and for the fourth time in five games over nine days.
The Mariners won their 92nd game and improved to 11-7 against the A’s this season.
Reigning Cy Young winner Barry Zito, scheduled to pitch Game 2 of the playoffs against Boston on Thursday, started and went five innings. He wasn’t involved in the decision, allowing four runs and seven hits.
Zito finished the regular season with a 14-12 record and a 3.30 ERA. Last season, he was 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA.
“We got to him early,” Melvin said of Zito. “He’s a guy you have to get to early because once he settles down, he gets real tough. Whenever you go up against a Barry Zito, you have your work cut out for you.”
Zito admitted he was looking ahead.
“Going into this start, I kind of overlooked that I had to pitch against the Mariners a little bit and was more focused on the whole playoff thing,” he said. “It’s always tough to make starts like this when it’s not all the money on the table.”
Macha said the Mariners didn’t face a vintage Zito in the opening inning.
“Barry was up with some pitches and they were being very aggressive,” Macha said. “After that, I thought he settled down and pitched great.”
Ryan Franklin (11-13), who missed his previous start on Wednesday because of a stiff neck, pitched six innings to get the victory. He allowed four runs on six hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
Franklin said his stiff neck bothered him, but it felt good enough to pitch. He said he hurt himself.
“I was stretching in Anaheim and rolling on my back and putting my legs up over my head,” Franklin said. “It wouldn’t go away for like three days. I’ve never had anything like it.”
The Mariners scored three times in the sixth against Chad Bradford (7-4). With two out, Willie Bloomquist and Dan Wilson singled and Suzuki singled up the middle on a 3-0. Sanchez then hit his second double of the day.
The Mariners took a 4-0 lead on six hits in the first. Bret Boone opened the scoring with a run-scoring single, John Olerud added an RBI double and Randy Winn and Mike Cameron followed with RBI singles.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched the ninth inning for Seattle for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.
The A’s-Boston best-of-five series will open Wednesday night in Oakland. The A’s will send their regulars against left-hander Jamie Moyer, Seattle’s 20-game winner, on Sunday.
“Tomorrow, we’re going to stick our lineup out there and let them play thewhole game,” Macha said.
Suzuki went 2-for-5 to give him 211 hits for the season. It was his 66th multihit game, tops in the majors. He’s averaged 220.3 hits in his three seasons in Seattle. … Franklin is tied with Anaheim’s Jarrod Washburn in the AL with 34 homers allowed this season. Washburn is scheduled to start for the Angels on Sunday. … Winn has a season-high 11-game hitting streak. … Zito made 35 starts for the third straight season. He pitched a career high 231 2-3innings compared to 229 1-3 last season.