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A's earn record-tying 15th straight win over Mariners

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Maybe Oakland's surprising streak against
Seattle means little. The way the surging Athletics are playing, it
could as easily be Tampa Bay, Texas or Toronto on the losing end of
things.

The A's tied a major league mark with their 15th straight win
over Seattle, getting six shutout innings from Dan Haren in a 4-0
victory over the Mariners on Wednesday night.

"I don't care who we're playing," second baseman Mark Ellis
said. "We're taking advantage of our opportunities."

Ellis homered for the second time in three games with a
three-run shot as the A's matched the 1974 Atlanta Braves for the
longest winning streak against a division opponent since divisional
play started in 1969, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The
Braves won 15 straight versus the San Diego Padres that year.

Yet Oakland has had a longer winning streak against one
opponent, getting 16 straight victories against the New York
Yankees from Sept. 9, 1989, through May 1, 1991.

Haren (11-9) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter to win
his fifth straight start for the first-place A's, who increased
their AL West lead to a season-best 6½ games over Los Angeles after
the Angels lost 9-3 at Texas. It's Oakland's biggest advantage in
the division since having a seven-game lead on Sept. 30, 1992.

Oakland, 12-2 in August, won its sixth straight game and 12th in
13 and sent Seattle to its season-worst seventh consecutive defeat
and 16th in a row against the division.

The Mariners are 0-7 on their 11-game road trip that resumes
Thursday with the opener of a four-game series in Anaheim.

"It's a learning process," manager Mike Hargrove said. "We're
getting valuable lessons. The bad part of it is we're getting our
butts kicked while it's going on. We'll come out of this."

Nick Swisher, who delivered the key hits in the first two games
of the series for Oakland, drew walks in his first three plate
appearances and scored the first two times -- including on a balk in
the fourth.

Ellis, Oakland's former leadoff hitter now batting in the No. 9
spot, connected off Gil Meche (9-8) with a drive into the
left-field seats with two outs in the second for his eighth homer
of the year.

Justin Duchscherer, Joe Kennedy and Huston Street completed the
10-hit shutout for the A's, who have a 10-game winning streak
against Seattle in the Coliseum.

The Mariners loaded the bases against Haren with one out in the
fourth but he struck out Willie Bloomquist swinging and also got
Ichiro Suzuki swinging on an 87 mph splitter. The right-hander, 5-1
in seven career starts against Seattle, recorded seven straight
outs beginning with Bloomquist.

"My stuff was as good as it's been all year," said Haren,
helped by a sensational catch from center fielder Mark Kotsay
against the wall on Suzuki's hard-hit ball in the first. "I think
in order to win so many games against one team you have to catch a
few breaks."

Meche, who has allowed 29 runs over his last five outings, lost
his third straight start and matched his career high by dropping a
fourth consecutive decision. He is winless in six starts since a
victory July 14 at Toronto.

He pitched the Mariners' lone win over the A's on April 6 at
Safeco Field, but was tagged for four runs and six hits in 5 1-3
innings Wednesday.

Kotsay extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a
seventh-inning double, while Adrian Beltre got a hit in his 12th
straight game when he singled to left in the first for Seattle.

Game notes
Frank Thomas, who has 25 homers, drew just his second
intentional walk of the season. ... The A's have won six straight
series. It was their ninth series sweep of the season. ... Oakland
drew 34,077 for its 10th sellout of the season. ... The Mariners
indefinitely moved struggling fifth starter Joel Pineiro to the
bullpen and promoted left-hander Jake Woods to take Pineiro's
starting spot. The switch happened a day after Pineiro allowed a
career-high nine runs in an 11-2 loss to Oakland, his fifth
straight defeat against the A's this season and his third loss in a
row overall. He has only one victory since June 20. ... LHP Eric
O'Flaherty made his major league debut in the seventh after Seattle
selected his contract from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day. The
Mariners optioned infielder Greg Dobbs to Tacoma.