OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Swisher's day began in sadness on
the first anniversary of his grandmother's death. He later paid
tribute to her in a way she would have loved.
His timely swing helped move the first-place Athletics another
game up in their division race, too.
Swisher hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning and
Oakland beat the Seattle Mariners for the 13th straight time with a
5-4 victory on Monday night.
Swisher wore Betty Lorraine Swisher's "BLS" initials taped
around each wrist and pointed to the sky after his 25th home run of
the year sailed over Ichiro Suzuki's head in right field.
"I didn't hit that home run, I can tell you that," Swisher
said. "It's just an awesome day. She pushed it away from Ichiro.
She knows that if you drop it over his head he's going to catch
Mark Ellis and Frank Thomas also homered for the first-place
A's, who lost the first meeting of the year but have won the last
13 in the season series -- the Mariners' second-longest skid to any
team in franchise history. The club record for consecutive losses
against a single opponent is 15 against the Boston Red Sox during
the 1977-78 seasons.
Joe Kennedy (3-0), activated from the disabled list earlier in
the day, pitched for the first time since May 9 and got one out on
only five pitches for the victory. He missed 84 games with
tendinitis in his shoulder.
"I wasn't expecting this," he said. "It's fun to be part of a
Justin Duchscherer pitched the ninth for his third save in five
opportunities as Oakland won its fourth straight game and sent
Seattle to its fifth straight defeat. The Mariners are winless
through the first five games of their 11-game road trip.
Duchscherer picked off Suzuki at first base for the final out --
quite a feat considering the leadoff hitter has only been caught
three times and has 34 stolen bases.
"That's the game of baseball. It's part of the game. Emotional
swings like that happen," Suzuki said of Seattle's slide against
He can't recall another stretch like this against one team in
"I have a horrible memory," he said through an interpreter.
"Lately my brain has been destroyed."
Willie Bloomquist homered for the first time in nearly two years
and Ben Broussard also connected, but that wasn't enough to get
Seattle over the hump against its division rival. The A's increased
their AL West lead to 5½ games over the Los Angeles Angels, who
lost 7-2 to the Yankees in New York.
Ellis hit a tying solo home run with two outs in the fourth with
a shot to left-center for his seventh homer of the year, then
Bloomquist homered to left leading off Seattle's two-run fifth. It
was his first home run since Sept. 27, 2004, a three-run shot also
off Barry Zito -- a span of 419 at-bats, 461 plate appearances and
Thomas hit a towering solo homer in the fifth that reached the
second deck of the left-field bleachers before falling down a
level, career homer No. 473 for the Big Hurt and his 25th this
Broussard hit a two-run homer into the elevated bleachers in
right-center in the second to give Seattle an early cushion -- not a
bad way to start in his first career encounter with Zito. Adrian
Beltre extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fifth-inning
double for Seattle and reached base for the 25th straight game with
a walk in the first.
Zito, who made his AL-leading 26th start, lasted only five
innings for the second straight outing and vowed afterward to work
on his mechanics before he takes the mound again. He also was done
early in a 14-0 loss to Texas last Wednesday. Zito has given up six
home runs in his three August starts and has thrown 196 pitches in
his last two outings.
"I can't be satisfied about anything about tonight," the 2002
AL Cy Young award winner said.
Ellis homered for the first time in 26 career at-bats against
Washburn, who allowed three runs and eight hits, walked three and
didn't have a strikeout.
Swisher singled in a run in the second to score Thomas, who drew
a leadoff walk.
The A's are 21-9 since the All-Star break, best in the majors.
Oakland's 13 wins against the Mariners match its most ever in one
season against Seattle after the A's went 13-2 in the series in
The 38-year-old Thomas is batting .343 (23-for-67) with
five home runs and 18 RBI over his last 19 games. ... The Mariners
have won nine of their last 11 when facing a lefty starter. ... A's
CF Mark Kotsay didn't start for the seventh straight game because
of back spasms but came in for defense in the ninth. ... Washburn
is 0-4 with a 5.19 ERA over his last six starts against the A's.