OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics kept their bats on
their shoulders and patiently waited for Seattle rookie Travis
Blackley to find the plate.
When he didn't, the A's walked their way to another win.
Erubiel Durazo homered for the second straight day to give him
14 on the year, hitting a solo shot in the seventh. Damian Miller
had three hits and an RBI, Eric Chavez had three RBI and Mark
Kotsay drove in two runs for the A's, who took advantage of 14
walks by Seattle pitchers.
It was the second most walks ever by Seattle, whose club record
for walks was 15 on July 17, 1991, at Milwaukee. The A's haven't
walked so many times since drawing a club-record 15 on Sept. 19,
2000, at Baltimore.
"Geez, I knew it was a lot, but I didn't know it was that
many," Oakland's Bobby Kielty said of the walks. "That's not
something we were trying to do. It just happened."
Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 18 games and Justin
Leone homered for the Mariners, but it wasn't enough to keep
Seattle from losing its 13th straight road game.
The A's have won three straight and are 2½ games behind
first-place Texas in the AL West. The Rangers won 6-1 at Anaheim.
Zito's troubles this season are baffling, considering he's just
two seasons removed from winning the AL Cy Young award. The A's
lost two games in Seattle last week, including 6-5 in 10 innings
Wednesday when Zito got a no-decision after allowing five runs and
nine hits in five innings.
Zito (6-7) has just two wins since June 8, when he beat the
Cincinnati Reds, but he believes he's beginning to pitch well. He
has a good record against Seattle, and improved to 6-0 in six
career starts against the Mariners in Oakland. The lefty went six
innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits, struck out three
and walked three.
"I felt pretty good today," Zito said. "I thought I was going
to take a loss and the team just went off. The team took some free
passes that were huge."
Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price was ejected in the fourth by
plate umpire Charlie Reliford for arguing balls and strikes. Price
charged onto the field to protest and manager Bob Melvin rushed to
get between Price and Reliford.
Blackley walked four in the inning, including both Kotsay and
Bobby Crosby with the bases loaded to score runs. Chavez added a
two-run single in the inning to pull the A's within 5-4.
Blackley argued on the walk to Kotsay, coming toward home plate
to inquire about the strike zone.
"It wasn't a crisis situation. We were ahead 5-1," Price said.
"I think I made the situation worse by yelling at them from the
dugout. You can't expect a 21-year-old rookie to keep his composure
when all that is going on."
Oakland tied the game at 5 on Byrnes' RBI single in the fifth,
which followed two more walks by Blackley and one from reliever
Kotsay then hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly to center. The A's
added five more runs in the sixth on Byrnes' double to the wall in
left-center, a run-scoring single by Miller and Chavez's sacrifice
fly. One of the runs was unearned after Leone's fielding error at
It was an ugly start to a season-long 14-game road trip for
Seattle, which is even with Oakland at 5-5 in the season series.
Blackley (1-3) hasn't won in four starts since making his major
league debut July 1 and beating Texas. He allowed six earned runs
on three hits in four innings, struck out two and walked nine.
"I felt good out there. I threw good pitches. I kept the ball
down in the zone. I stayed away from the middle of the plate -- all
the things they've been telling me to do," Blackley said. "I just
messed up. I began not hitting my spots and I let some emotion get
in the way.
Suzuki, who finished with three hits, owns the
second-longest active hitting streak in the majors behind Atlanta's
J.D. Drew's 22-game run. ... Injured A's All-Star Tim Hudson threw
48 pitches to three hitters in a simulated game. Hudson used all of
his pitches and came out of the session pain-free, though his
command was a little off. He will throw a side Wednesday or
Thursday, then make a rehab start at Triple-A Sacramento on
Saturday. He'll throw 70 pitches in that outing, then probably be
activated. ... Seattle has hit 22 homers in July, the club's most
of any month this year.