SEATTLE (AP) -- Huston Street can thank his acrobatic shortstop for helping him earn a harrowing save.
Oakland's closer caught a break when speedy Ichiro Suzuki didn't try to steal early in the inning. Then he watched in amazement as shortstop Bobby Crosby dived, got up and threw out Adrian Beltre to end the game, preventing Suzuki from scoring and preserving the surprising Athletics' 4-3 victory over the slumping Seattle Mariners Friday night."My heart definitely skipped a beat," Street said, smiling after Crosby ensured Dana Eveland got his third win of the season for the resourceful A's, who got just three hits but took advantage of wild starter Miguel Batista."That was extra special," Oakland manager Bob Geren said of Crosby's play.The A's (15-9), supposedly destined for the bottom of the AL West in a rebuilding season, clinched their first winning record in April since 2003. That team won 96 games and the division.The Mariners lost their third straight, and fifth in seven games.Eveland (3-1) allowed six hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. The bullpen then escaped several jams.Street began the ninth by walking Suzuki. Mariners manager John McLaren then asked Jose Lopez, who had four hits, to see if Street was using a quicker slide step before throwing his first pitch. If he was, Lopez was to bunt instead of having Suzuki attempt to steal second."The reason I used the slide step? It's Ichiro," Street said, sounding incredulous.Lopez fouled out trying for the sacrifice."And I knew he had four hits, too," Street said. "Sure, definitely, you've got a guy who was 4-for-4 -- it was a break."When asked if he wished for the chance to challenge Street's side step and steal so the hot Lopez could drive him in, Suzuki defended his manager."I thought the bunt was the obvious play to do in that situation," Suzuki said, through an interpreter.After Raul Ibanez flied out, Suzuki finally stole second. Then Beltre drilled a hard grounder that seemed destined for left field. But Crosby, whose throwing error led to a Seattle rally in the eighth, ranged to his left and then sprawled to snare the ball on the edge of the outfield grass. He quickly got to his feet and gunned out Beltre by a step to end the game, with first baseman Daric Barton stretching far to the ground like a gymnast to receive the throw.Street exhaled one last time over his eighth save in ninth chances."I was already thinking about who was on deck," he said, chuckling.Crosby said his thinking was to "at worst knock it down to keep it in the infield so Ichiro couldn't score."I was lucky."With the bases loaded in the eighth, Andrew Brown got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground into an inning-ending double play that Barton nimbly completed with another nice stretch. Betancourt slammed his helmet into the ground in frustration.Lopez's fourth hit and another single by Ibanez put another tying run at second in the seventh. But 38-year-old Alan Embree retired Beltre on a fly ball to end that threat.Batista (2-3) became the fourth Mariners pitcher this month to get hurt. The 37-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and labored through 42 pitches in the first.Frank Thomas, in the second game of his return to Oakland, broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single that scored Kurt Suzuki with the first run. Then Batista walked Emil Brown to make it 2-0. With the bases still loaded, Batista allowed Thomas to score when he threw a wild pitch near Crosby's chin and to the backstop on a fly.The inning was so rough that the large home crowd on Ichiro Suzuki Bobblehead Night booed many of his pitches and cheered mockingly when he managed an occasional strike.After Batista walked Kurt Suzuki leading off the second, McLaren walked to the mound with a trainer and quickly summoned Cha Seung Baek from the bullpen. The Mariners soon announced their leader in wins (16) last season had a mild right groin strain and will be reevaluated Saturday. "He said he felt like if he kept going he could really pull something," McLaren said.Baek, mostly mothballed this season, retired his final 15 batters after Brown's double in the second had made it 4-1. Baek, who acknowledged early rust, allowed one hit and one run in six innings.
Seattle is 1-7 in one-run games, tying Atlanta for most such losses in the major leagues. ... RHP Rich Harden, on the DL since April 3 with a strained shoulder, will throw 50 pitches in a simulated game Saturday. Oakland still doesn't know when he might go out on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment. ... Santiago Casilla pitched 1 1-3 innings. He has not allowed a run in 13 appearances this season.