Athletics-Mariners Preview


Jesus Montero just wants to help the Seattle Mariners.

They surely welcome his kind of contributions at any time.

Montero looks to build on his best performance yet in a Mariners uniform as they try to conclude a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics with back-to-back victories Sunday.

A power-hitting catcher not known for his defense, Seattle acquired Montero along with right-hander Hector Noesi in January in a trade that sent top young starting pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees.

Montero, who has appeared as a designated hitter in seven of nine games, is hitting .323 for Seattle (5-5) and is riding an eight-game hitting streak. He finally showed off his highly-regarded power in Saturday's 4-0 win over Oakland (4-5), connecting for his first homer as a Mariner - a solo shot - before adding a two-run double in the sixth. Noesi yielded five hits in eight innings to earn his first win with Seattle.

"'I just want to help the team. Whatever opportunity they give me, I'm going to help," said Montero, who completed the battery with Noesi on Saturday. "I'm here to hit, I'm here to catch, whatever they decide, I'm going to help and do my best."

Dustin Ackley and Chone Figgins are also finding success at the plate, specifically against the A's.

Figgins is hitting .320 with four RBIs in the six meetings between these clubs this season, while Ackley is batting .308 with one homer and three RBIs versus Oakland.

Blake Beavan wouldn't mind benefiting from some of that production as he takes the mound for his second start of 2012. The right-hander was the hard-luck loser in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Texas. He allowed one run over 6 1-3 innings, while watching the Seattle bats muster four hits.

Beavan has had little success against Oakland, losing two of three starts while posting a 7.56 ERA. That includes a 7-0 loss at Safeco Field on Sept. 27, when he was tagged for seven runs and eight hits - two homers - in five innings.

The A's are trying to return to .500 by winning for the third time in four tries, but are hitting only .200 on the season.

Rookie center fielder and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes hit .308 with three homers and seven RBIs through his first four games, but is 2 for 26 over the last five.

Oakland will give the ball to Graham Godfrey, who will face Seattle for the first time.

The right-hander debuted in the major leagues last season, compiling a 3.96 ERA in five games - four starts - but receiving a total of six runs in support and posting a 1-2 record. That lack of support manifested itself again in his 2012 debut, as he was charged with a 3-0 loss to Kansas City on Tuesday.

Still, Godfrey came away from the outing with positive feelings after allowing two runs over six innings.

"I thought everything went pretty well except for a couple of pitches," he said.