Kirk Saarloos pitched a four-hitter for his second career shutout, leading Oakland over the Seattle Mariners 5-0 Thursday.
“Hopefully, they were able to relax and have a fun day,” Saarloos said. “And I don’t think there’s a pitcher out there who is going to turn down a chance to have a complete game.”
Saarloos (4-4), a 26-year-old right-hander acquired from Houston in April 2004, tied his career high with seven strikeouts and walked none. His only previous complete game was a six-hit shutout for Houston over Pittsburgh July 25, 2002.
In winning his third straight start, Saarloos threw 80 of 127 pitches for strikes.
“That’s why you put in the hard work during the offseason to be able to go out and do something like this,” he said. “It was one of those days when everything fell into place and they gave me some run support so I could just go out there and pitch.”
Oakland manager Ken Macha was grateful.
“Today, I was looking at the bullpen before the game started and I didn’t know how much I had out there,” Macha said. “He stepped up big. That really was a huge pickup for the club.”
Richie Sexson struck out four times.
“If you’d have told me that before the game, I’d have been real pleased,” Saarloos said. “He’s a great hitter. It was just one of those days.”
Scott Hatteberg had four hits for the eighth time in his career, and Oakland finished with 16 hits.
“It’s not like playing,” Hatteberg said. “You really got to get a routine and stick to it. You drive yourself crazy doing it. I’d still rather be playing.”
Bouncing back from a 12-inning, 5-4 loss Wednesday night, the A’s won three of four against Seattle and won for the fifth time in six games overall. The last-place A’s are 6-3 against the Mariners this season, including 4-2 at Seattle.
Ryan Franklin (3-9) allowed five runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went hitless for the second straight game, going 0-for-4. He was 0-for-6 in the Mariners’ 13-inning, 5-4 victory Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t matter how long I am not hitting well,” Suzuki said through a translator. “It’s always frustrating to me whether it’s a game or an at-bat. It doesn’t make any difference.”
Oakland broke open the game in the seventh. Chavez singled and scored his third run when Hatteberg doubled . Rookie Dan Johnson’s RBI single chased Franklin, and Nick Swisher added an RBI single off Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
“It’s tough to win when you only get four hits,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said.
Chavez went 2-for-3 and was 7-for-17 for the series. … The A’s got their fifth shutout of the season, while the Mariners were blanked for the fourth time. … Saarloos’ wife, Kristen, is a graduate of Issaquah High School in the Seattle area and the pitcher estimated he got tickets to about 30 family and friends. … The A’s have won four consecutive series. … Sexson took over the major league lead with 82 strikeouts. He leads the Mariners with 16 homers and 54 RBIs. … Seattle matched its season high for hits allowed.