Athletics 9, Mariners 6

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Esteban Loaiza put aside his legal troubles long enough to pitch the Oakland Athletics to their seventh straight victory.

Loaiza earned a win Thursday after spending one night in jail this week, and Oakland beat the Seattle Mariners 9-6 behind Dan Johnson’s big performance at the plate.

Johnson matched career highs with four hits and four RBIs to help Oakland sweep the Mariners for the second time this season. Loaiza, who spent Tuesday night in jail on suspicion of drunken driving, got through six innings to earn his second straight victory since coming off the disabled list.

“I was thinking about a lot of stuff, but when I got to the ballpark I just wanted to stay positive,” Loaiza said. “I can’t say much but I can say I’m sorry for what I’ve done for my teammates, for the Oakland Athletics, major league baseball and the fans. It can happen to anybody and I don’t want it to happen to anybody else. I’m sorry for everything.”

Loaiza faces drunken driving and speeding charges after police clocked his Ferrari exceeding 120 mph on a freeway near San Lorenzo. He was jailed early Wednesday after he failed a sobriety test, California Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Wright said. The right-hander was released from jail later that day and is scheduled to appear in court July 14.

“We’ll let this whole process go through,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “He has to accept responsibility for this and he’ll take whatever consequences come. This happens in life, in the public and those people get up and go to work the next day.”

Nick Swisher and Bobby Kielty each drove in two runs for the A’s, who moved four games over .500 for the first time this year.

Yuniesky Betancourt drove in a pair of runs for the Mariners, who have lost nine straight to the A’s this season.

“We came in here feeling we were on a roll,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “Our expectations were higher than our results.”

Jarrod Washburn (4-8) allowed six runs and seven hits over five innings to fall to 1-5 in his last nine road starts. He walked four and struck out two.

“This is the best I’ve felt all year and had good action on my pitches,” Washburn said. “But when a big situation came up, I couldn’t make my pitches. I could not make the strikes I needed.”

Loaiza (2-3) allowed five runs—three earned—and six hits. He walked two and struck out two.

“I was hitting my spots and hit 93 (mph) a couple of times,” Loaiza said. “We came back after I gave up three runs.”

Several teammates rallied around Loaiza.

“He’s his own man and what he does off the field is none of our business,” Johnson said. “We’ll let him take care of it on his own and we’ll worry about him on the field. He’s been taking care of business.”

Said Kielty: “That’s a tough thing to go through, I can only imagine. It lets everybody know we have to pick each other up. He pitched a good game and got the win. It ended up good for him.”

Johnson, who started the season hitless in his first 27 at-bats, has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .519 during that span to improve his average to a season-best .249.

“I’m a long way from where I started,” he said. “I was leaving a lot of guys on base in the first two months and we were losing a lot of close games. Fortunately, they stuck with me.”

Huston Street got three straight outs for his 16th save in 19 chances, including his last eight in a row.

The usually reliable Oakland defense committed a pair of errors in the second to hand the Mariners a 3-0 lead. Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson singled to start the inning. Carl Everett grounded into a force play and Ibanez scored when shortstop Bobby Crosby threw the ball into the Mariners’ dugout while trying for a double play.

Swisher dropped Kenji Johjima’s flyball in left field, allowing Everett to score. Betancourt also singled in a run.

The A’s got two runs back in the second, both on Johnson’s double.

Kielty’s second homer of the season, a two-run shot to left-center in the third, put the A’s up 4-3. Swisher doubled home two runs in the fourth, making it 6-3.

Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield single in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, to spark a Mariners rally. Adrian Beltre drew a walk but Loaiza got two quick outs before giving up consecutive run-scoring singles to Sexson and Everett.

Johnson’s two-run double in the seventh helped the A’s open a 9-5 lead. Crosby added an RBI single.

Betancourt hit an RBI double in the eighth.

Notes

A’s DH Frank Thomas went on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. … Washburn’s road ERA rose to 6.14. … The A’s have grounded into a double play in 11 straight games. … Suzuki leads the majors with 23 infield hits. … The A’s have used the disabled list nine times this year. They used it eight times all last year. … Seattle RHP Emiliano Fruto has six strikeouts in his last 2 2-3 innings. He’s also allowed nine hits and five runs during that span. … OF Jay Payton had three hits for the A’s.

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