Mariners 5

(12-14, 6-8 away)

Athletics 10

(13-16, 9-6 home)

    3:05 PM ET, March 29, 2005

    Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona 

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    SEA 020011001 5 - -
    OAK 03006100 - 10 - -

    Oakland 10, Seattle 5

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Joe Blanton is trying to make the most of his chance to earn a spot in the Oakland Athletics' starting rotation.

    Blanton worked six innings and Nick Swisher hit a three-run homer Tuesday, helping the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 10-5.

    When Oakland traded away Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, Blanton figured he's get his chance this spring.

    "I tried not to overdo things, or to press," Blanton said. "I tried to let things happen. I feel like my fastball control has gotten better each outing."

    Blanton will pitch in a minor league game on Sunday in Arizona and then join the A's in time to make his start in Tampa Bay a week from Friday.

    Oakland manager Ken Macha also said that Keiichi Yabu will start the season in the bullpen, leaving Dan Meyer, Kirk Saarloos and Seth Etherton to battle for the No. 5 starting job.

    "The other guys have pitched better than he has," Macha said of Yabu.

    Blanton, who allowed eight hits and four runs, has a 4.74 ERA and is beginning to feel comfortable with a changeup he developed in the winter.

    "I used it with all the lefties and some right-handers," he said. "I started throwing it last season, but it was not a great pitch. I used the offseason to throw it every day just to get comfortable with it. Here I'm learning to work it into counts."

    Seattle starter Aaron Sele gave up eight runs on seven hits in 4 2-3 innings. He likely earned a spot in the rotation with a strong spring in which he allowed one earned run in his 14 previous innings.

    "My job was to come here and show them I'm healthy," Sele said. "I did that. They can make a decision from there."

    Swisher homered for the first time this spring. He also drew his team-leading 12th walk and struck out for the 23rd time.

    Marco Scutaro's three-run double in the second put the A's ahead to stay. Scott Hatteberg added two RBI. Adrian Beltre hit a monstrous home run to center field.

    "We had just scored six runs and I wanted to treat it like a real game," Blanton said. "I didn't want to nibble. He's a good hitter and that's what hitters do. He hit it hard."

    Ichiro Suzuki singled in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Richie Sexson went 2-for-3 and is now 17-for-42 (.405) in his last 15 games.

    Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said left-hander Jamie Moyer will start the opener against the Minnesota Twin on Monday.

    Moyer also pitched Seattle's openers in 2000 and last season. He won 21 games and was an All-Star in 2003, but he's trying to bounce back from a 7-13 season.

    Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez had his eight-game hitting streak snapped. Mariners SS Pokey Reese missed the game with a sore right shoulder.

    The Mariners sent infielder Benji Gil to the New York Mets Triple-A club in Norfolk for cash considerations and released left-handed pitcher Nate Bland.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press