SEATTLE (AP) -- This wasn't the first time Dan Haren didn't feel
very good warming up in the bullpen.
Eric Chavez's 65-game errorless streak at third base came to an end when he misplayed a ground ball hit by Richie Sexson. Chavez's streak, which began on May 1, was the longest in the majors by a third baseman this year and the longest single-season stretch of errorless games in his major league career (Chavez's previous high was 47 straight games without an error in 2004.) Boston's Mike Lowell now has the longest current streak of error-free games at third base this season: 61 and counting.
Unlike previous episodes, Haren's struggles with control
followed the Oakland right-hander to the mound. Fortunately, his
offense provided some early support, giving Haren time to find a
groove and continue Oakland's remarkable dominance of Seattle.Haren pitched seven strong innings, leading the A's to a 5-2 win
over Seattle on Saturday afternoon, Oakland's 11th straight victory
over the Mariners.The win streak is now tied for the second longest in Oakland
history against one team, matching an 11-game stretch against the
Chicago White Sox in 1970. The A's won 16 straight games against
the New York Yankees from September 1989 to May 1991.Oakland is now 11-1 against Seattle this year and dropped the
Mariners 5½ games back in the AL West."Sometimes I fight myself," Haren said. "I just felt a little
off, but we got some runs and I just told myself to be aggressive
and then settled in and threw more the way I like to throw there at
the end."Haren's performance allowed the A's to overcome leaving a
season-high 16 runners on base. It was one short of the Oakland
franchise record of 17 set on Sept. 18, 1982 against the White Sox.Leaving men on base was frustrating for the A's offense, ranked
last in the majors in hitting. At the same time, Oakland scored
four of its five runs with two outs, and eight of its 10 runs in
the series have come with two-out."These are the type of games that normally come back to bite
you," said Frank Thomas, who had three hits and was on base five
times. "We just keep fighting right now. Guys are playing hard and
we're finding ways to win."Haren (9-9) continued his own streak, winning his third straight
decision and besting Seattle for the second time this year. The
right-hander has worked at least seven innings in his last three
starts, and allowed only four hits while striking out seven on
Saturday.Haren was rarely hit hard, and made just one mistake when Adrian
Beltre hit a two-run homer just beyond the wall in left in the
third inning. Haren retired the last 12 batters he faced and struck
out the side in the sixth on only 10 pitches.Kiko Calero pitched the eighth, striking out two, and Huston
Street picked up his 24th save in 31 chances pitching a perfect
ninth."Anytime Street comes in with a lead I think it's over. When he
gives it up it's a fluke to me," Haren said.Seattle starter Joel Pineiro struggled yet again and made
Oakland's offense look quite potent in his 2 2-3 innings on the
mound.Milton Bradley hit a pair of doubles in his first two at-bats
and the A's batted around in the second, scoring three times.Pineiro (7-9) was miserable, failing to last three innings for
the second time since July 1, and watching his ERA against Oakland
climb to 8.70 in four outings. He allowed eight hits, four runs and
walked three."Typical Pineiro start, I guess -- go out there, get hit, walk a
lot of people," Pineiro said. "My last two starts have been good.
I had a bad one today when I tried to come out and get the team out
of its slump against Oakland. It didn't work."Bradley scored in the first on Thomas' two-out single, then
Bradley drove home Jason Kendall in the second, lining a hanging
curve ball down the right field line for his second double.Kendall and Mark Kotsay also hit RBI singles in the second.
Payton also scored from third in the seventh on reliever Mark
Lowe's wild pitch."It seems like we've been gaining confidence with that,"
Thomas said of Oakland's two-out hitting. "The first of the year,
we were awful with it, but baseball is a long season, you're going
to have those spells of not getting it done and the run into those
hot spells and get it done all the time."Beltre's homer was his 11th of the season, but was all the
offense Seattle could produce. The Mariners didn't have a hit after
the third inning."We haven't been consistent with our hitting and our pitching
today was inconsistent," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Oakland 3B Eric Chavez had a 65-game errorless streak
snapped in the third when he misplayed Richie Sexson's grounder.
He's made three errors this season. ... Kotsay's single in the
second extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest streak
by an Oakland player this season. ... RF Ichiro Suzuki entered
Saturday hitting . 400 against Haren, but went 0-for-4 and has just
two hits in his last five games.