Mariners-Athletics Preview


With their longest home winning streak in 11 years in the past, the Oakland Athletics face a stiff challenge trying to bounce back against the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez.

The star right-hander looks to continues his recent success overall and in Oakland on Saturday.

A day after posting an 18-inning, 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees, Oakland (41-28) seemed to lack energy as its 11-game home winning streak ended with Friday's 3-2 loss to Seattle.

Mike Zunino homered in his second career game and Joe Saunders allowed a run and five hits over seven innings for the Mariners (30-38), who improved to 5-3 against the A's this season.

"I felt no difference,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about any possible fatigue from Thursday's marathon contest. "(Joe) Saunders pitched well. It was Zunino's home run.''

The AL West-leading A's have lost six times in 27 games, but now must find a way to get the best of a pitcher that's enjoyed taking the mound in Oakland during his stellar career.

Hernandez (7-4, 2.49 ERA) is 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 15 starts at the Coliseum, and hasn't lost there in 10 starts. He allowed three hits and struck out eight in 7 2-3 innings of a 2-0 season-opening victory at Oakland on April 1, the fourth time in five starts there he yielded one run or less.

"He's a tremendous pitcher, obviously, but you go out there and try to throw up zeros because his track record says he's going to do it, too,'' said currently disabled Oakland pitcher Brett Anderson, who took the loss in that contest.

Hernandez gave up 11 runs and 19 hits in 10 2-3 innings to lose consecutive starts from May 19-25, but has since yielded six and 14 hits over 22 1-3 innings while going 2-0 in three outings. He allowed a run, five hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 2-1 home loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday.

He's 5-2 with a 1.96 ERA in eight road outings in 2013.

Three of Oakland's 11 home losses have come to Seattle.

Called up Tuesday, Zunino is 2 for 7 and happy to contribute.

"I'm just happy (his first homer) could come at a time like that to help the team out," he said. "The bigger part was getting the W. That was my first one, too.''

Mariners rookie second baseman Nick Franklin added two hits and is 6 for 11 in the last three games.

Scheduled A's starter A.J. Griffin (5-5, 3.78) is 0-2 in his last three starts overall, but has a 2.12 ERA in winning his three career starts against the Mariners. The right-hander allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-2 win over Seattle on April 4.

Set to make his first home start since May 19, Griffin has allowed four runs in three of his last four starts, including Sunday over 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Oakland's Chris Young went 3 for 3 with a home run Friday. Young is hitting .184 this season, but is 5 for 9 with two doubles and two homers in three games versus Seattle.

The A's hope to have third baseman Josh Donaldson in the lineup after he was rested Friday while dealing with a leg strain. He's hitting .310 overall, but is 1 for 17 with six strikeouts in his last four contests.