OAKLAND, Calif. -- It was easy for Erik Bedard to keep up his intensity level, locked in an improbable pitching duel with Trevor Cahill.
Bedard allowed three hits pitching into the ninth inning, and Mike Sweeney's run-scoring double broke up Cahill's shutout bid to give the Seattle Mariners a 1-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday."You see the other guy throwing zeros and you want to do the same," Bedard said.Bedard was within two outs of his second career shutout when he was lifted for reliever David Aardsma, who struck out Jason Giambi and got Jack Cust to line out with a pair of runners aboard for his second save of the season and his career."He was spot-on with every pitch and kept hitters off balance big-time," Mariners catcher Rob Johnson said. "He was able to throw his sinker to both sides of the plate. He threw very few curve balls early."The A's never had runners on with less than two outs until the ninth, and Ryan Sweeney was only the second runner to reach second base when he was stranded there at the end."We had some good defense and they made all the plays," Bedard said. "That helps a lot. I was able to throw strikes with all my pitches."Bedard (1-0) allowed a hit to Rajai Davis in the third, and a two-out infield hit to Matt Holliday in the fourth before retiring 13 batters in a row."I can't say enough about Erik Bedard," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He came out and pitched like a champion. He's worked hard to get to this point."He struck out seven and walked only one batter, but couldn't wrap things up. His only career shutout came at the Texas Rangers on July 7, 2007, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles."He had pinpoint control in and out," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It was a masterful performance by both pitchers. Unfortunately, they strung a couple of hits together."Cahill (0-1) retired 11 consecutive batters before Adrian Beltre singled up the middle with one out in the seventh. After Russell Branyan flew out, Sweeney drove in the game's only run with a double to center."My thing is that I struggle early, until I get a feel for how the sinker is doing that day," Cahill said. "I always feel better later in the game. I looked up after the fifth inning and saw that Bedard was having a good game and then noticed zeros across on their line."Wakamatsu served as Oakland's bench coach last year and Sweeney played with the A's."I heard a lot about Trevor Cahill, that he was a poor man's Brandon Webb," Sweeney said. "He came out and pitched liked it. He knows what he's doing out there."Sweeney's ball drifted away from Davis, who slipped and allowed the ball to get by."The ball just took off," Sweeney said. "I don't know if it knuckled or not."Geren watched the replays several times."You always joke about the ball taking a bad hop in the air but that's what it seemed like," he said. "It seemed to take a left turn. It was weird."Endy Chavez singled in the eighth to extend his season-opening streak to seven games for Seattle, matching Ichiro Suzuki's streak from 2005.The A's turned double plays in the first and third to erase possible rallies, while the Mariners won their fourth straight game.
Branyan stole his 12th career base. ... The A's stranded 28 runners in the series. ... The Mariners swept the A's in their final series of 2008. They last recorded consecutive sweeps over the A's in the final series of 2007 and the opening series last year. ... Seattle beat a right-handed starter for the first time this season. ... Mariners OF Wladimir Balentien sat out the game with a sore left wrist but was available to pinch run or for defensive purposes. ... The A's have lost six straight to the Mariners, tying their longest such streak in the series. ... Cust is the only A's player to reach base safely in the first six games.