OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics have been beating up on bad teams for weeks. They know their weekend series against the White Sox will provide a true barometer of just how well things are going.
Dan Haren won his career-best sixth straight decision, and Dan Johnson and Bobby Crosby homered to lead the A's to their season-high seventh straight victory, 6-2 over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
Helped by three errors from Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, Oakland completed its second straight sweep after taking three games from San Francisco last weekend. Seattle lost its fifth straight.
Chicago, which owns the best record in baseball, comes to town starting Friday for a three-game series. Then the A's have three more at the White Sox just before the All-Star break.
"It's going to be a good test for us," Crosby said, "to see where we're really at."
Eric Chavez hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fifth, Scott Hatteberg had an RBI single a day after missing a game with the flu, and Crosby extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out double in the fifth. He hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
The A's won for the 11th time in 12 games to finish June with a 19-8 record after going 7-20 in May. That matched the best turnaround in Oakland history from one month to the next. In 1980, the A's went 7-21 in June and 19-10 in July.
"June has been terrific," A's manager Ken Macha said. "We've got nine games left until the All-Star break and six of them against the team with the best record in baseball."
Haren (7-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings as A's starters improved to 11-0 in their last 12 outings. He didn't have his best stuff and had to work for his outs, but got through it.
"I've never been a part of anything like this where it seems everybody is outdoing each other," Haren said. "It's kind of like a friendly competition. Everybody is pulling for everybody. After the way things were going early in the year, you get to really appreciate the wins."
Gil Meche (8-5), trying to become the sixth Seattle pitcher to win five games in June, had his three-game winning streak snapped.
"I couldn't get a bunch of pitches together, so I just kept throwing," he said. "I was off the plate with almost all my pitches. Those six walks won't help you with the tempo of the game."
He allowed three runs -- one earned -- four hits and a season-high six walks in 4 2/3 innings, throwing 111 pitches.
"I don't know if he was trying to be too careful or too perfect," manager Mike Hargrove said.
Raul Ibanez and Bret Boone hit back-to-back homers in the second for Seattle, the fifth time the Mariners connected for consecutive homers this year. Jeremy Reed followed with a single, then Haren retired 13 of his final 16 batters.
Oakland tied the game in the fifth when Beltre charged in on a grounder by Mark Ellis and made a wild throw that sailed past first baseman Richie Sexson to the Seattle bullpen, allowing Adam Melhuse to score. Chavez followed with the sacrifice fly.
Beltre had a first-inning fielding error and an eighth-inning throwing error. He also made three errors on May 21, 1999, for Los Angeles against St. Louis. The first two errors Thursday led to unearned runs.
"The funny thing is, I only had three (groundball) chances, and I made an error on each one of them," Beltre said. "Probably if we had continued to play, I would have made another error. I hate it when I make errors. It was a nightmare day."
Johnson hit his second homer on Julio Mateo's first pitch of the sixth.
|Bobby Crosby connects for his two-run homer in the seventh inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.294|
|Randy Winn, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.272|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.261|
|Richie Sexson, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.241|
|Raul Ibanez, DH||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.298|
|Bret Boone, 2B||3||1||1||1||1||1||2||.236|
|Jeremy Reed, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.263|
|Mike Morse, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.353|
|Pat Borders, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.216|
|HR - Raul Ibanez (11, Haren), Bret Boone (7, Haren)|
|RBI - Raul Ibanez (39), Bret Boone (34)|
|CS - Ichiro Suzuki (5, 2nd base by Haren/Melhuse)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Morse-Boone-Sexson|
|E - Adrian Beltre 3 (8, Misplayed grounder)|
|Gil Meche (L,8-5)||4.2||4||3||1||6||2||0||4.65|
|Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 111-61, Julio Mateo 18-14, Matt Thornton 31-16, Eddie Guardado 16-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 4-7, Julio Mateo 2-2, Eddie Guardado 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Gil Meche 23, Julio Mateo 6, Matt Thornton 6, Eddie Guardado 4|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||5||0||0||0||0||0||2||.277|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||2||1||0||1||1||1||.287|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||3||1||0||1||1||0||2||.272|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||3||1||2||2||1||0||0||.337|
|Scott Hatteberg, DH||1||0||1||1||3||0||0||.285|
|Bobby Kielty, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||6||.288|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||2||1||1||1||2||0||0||.280|
|Nick Swisher, RF||3||0||0||0||1||2||4||.237|
|Adam Melhuse, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.136|
|2B - Bobby Crosby (7, Meche)|
|HR - Bobby Crosby (4, Thornton), Dan Johnson (2, Mateo)|
|SF - Eric Chavez (3)|
|RBI - Eric Chavez (44), Bobby Crosby 2 (14), Scott Hatteberg (28), Dan Johnson (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Scott Hatteberg (12)|
|CS - Nick Swisher (1, 2nd base by Meche/Borders)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Crosby-Johnson|
|Dan Haren (W,7-7)||6||6||2||2||1||3||2||3.85|
|Ricardo Rincon (H,10)||0.1||0||0||0||1||0||0||3.54|
|Justin Duchscherer (H,4)||1.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.31|
|WP - Dan Haren (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 98-62, Ricardo Rincon 11-6, Justin Duchscherer 20-15, Huston Street 15-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 7-6, Justin Duchscherer 2-2, Huston Street 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Dan Haren 23, Ricardo Rincon 2, Justin Duchscherer 6, Huston Street 4|
|Attendance - 19583|
|Game Time - 2:43|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Bruce Froemming, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt|