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Athletics' losing streak reaches four with setback to visiting Mariners

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Joel Pineiro had company in the dugout between innings: a scary, seven-inch rat that stood up on its hind legs and hissed at the Seattle Mariners.

When his teammates scattered, Pineiro stayed put -- things were going too well to alter anything. Someone eventually bonked it with a bat.

Mike Morse hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh and Pineiro ended a three-start winless stretch with eight strong innings, leading Seattle to a 3-2 victory over the slumping Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

"The rat was next to me the whole time, but I didn't want to change anything," Pineiro said. "I thought it was a dead rat, but it started moving and guys said, 'You've got to get away.' It was a good luck charm for us."

Or a curse for the suddenly slumping A's.

Oakland lost its fourth consecutive game and blew a chance to gain ground in the standings. Oakland remained 1½ games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West race and 1½ games behind the New York Yankees in the wild-card standings. The Angels lost at Boston and the Yankees were beaten at home by Tampa Bay.

Pineiro (6-9) won for the first time since a 4-3 victory over Kansas City on Aug. 16, and Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI single as the Mariners captured their first series since sweeping the Royals that same week, Aug. 15-17, during Kansas City's club-record 19-game losing streak.

The right-hander started the season on the disabled list after missing the second half of 2004 with a strained right elbow, though he says he's been comfortable on the mound all year. Manager Mike Hargrove likes how Pineiro is going after hitters and no longer being tentative as he was early in the year.

"I honestly believe what we're seeing is Joel getting confidence and arm strength," Hargrove said. "We're just seeing him get strong and believe in that strength. He had a great changeup."

Seattle won a road series for the first time since taking all four against the Angels from July 7-10.

Pineiro allowed six hits and two runs, retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, struck out five and walked one. Eddie Guardado finished for his 31st save.

Mark Kotsay returned to the Oakland lineup after the center fielder missed eight games with a back injury but had his share of trouble. He singled in his first at-bat, but committed two costly errors in the decisive seventh inning -- surprising for one of Oakland's most reliable gloves. Richie Sexson singled leading off the inning and went to second when Kotsay tried to pick up the ball and dropped it.

Two batters later, Lopez singled and Kotsay rushed in on the play and the ball got past him for a two-base error.

The grass in center field is beat up after the Oakland Raiders played two NFL preseason games in the stadium and bleachers covered much of the outfield.

"The field is fast," Kotsay said. "Last time I made two errors in a game were throwing errors. I usually don't look that bad."

The A's lost for the sixth time in seven games and again struggled to score despite a solid start from Joe Kennedy. Oakland was shut out 2-0 by 19-year-old phenom Felix Hernandez in the opener of the series Monday.

Mark Ellis, one of the A's most consistent hitters recently, had a single in the first and doubled with two outs in the fifth to break a 1-all tie. But the A's couldn't hold the lead.

"I'm a little concerned about getting our offense going," A's manager Ken Macha said. "That's four games in a row without much."

Kennedy (3-2) had four strikeouts through two innings and finished with six in 6 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits and two earned runs and didn't walk a batter.

The lefty made this third start for the A's since coming to the club as a reliever in a trade with Colorado on July 13 that sent popular outfielder Eric Byrnes to the Rockies briefly before he was traded on to Baltimore.

Kennedy beat the Orioles at Camden Yards on Aug. 27, then lost 3-0 to the Angels last Thursday.

Suzuki hit a two-out RBI single in the third and Jamal Strong followed with a base hit, then Kennedy retired the next 10 batters before Sexson's single.

Notes

  • A's first base coach Brad Fischer coached third base in place of Ron Washington, who left the team to visit his family in Alabama after they fled their homes in New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. Bench coach Rene Lachemann filled in at first base. Washington will rejoin the team Friday at Texas.
  • RHP Rich Harden threw off the mound and still needs another side session before his next start, which probably won't be this weekend after all. He is nursing a strained muscle below his right shoulder blade.
  • Oakland C Jason Kendall received the day off. He is 1-for-15 (.067) against Pineiro.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The A's slide continues as Mark Ellis can't stop Yunieksy Betancourt from turning the double play.  (AP)
The A's slide continues as Mark Ellis can't stop Yunieksy Betancourt from turning the double play. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

M. Ellis
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Seattle

J. Pineiro
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 1
K 5
 
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4011012 .297
Jamal Strong, CF-LF4010010 .250
Raul Ibanez, DH4000012 .281
Richie Sexson, 1B4110010 .256
Adrian Beltre, 3B4000011 .262
Jose Lopez, 2B4111010 .241
Mike Morse, LF3121000 .287
    Jeremy Reed, PR-CF1010000 .255
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4000013 .218
Miguel Ojeda, C3010001 .146
Totals35383079 
Batting
2B - Mike Morse (10, Kennedy)
RBI - Ichiro Suzuki (64), Jose Lopez (14), Mike Morse (23)
2-OUT RBI - Ichiro Suzuki (24)
SB - Jeremy Reed (10, 2nd base off Duchscherer/Melhuse)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Pineiro-Betancourt-Sexson
Seattle Mariners
Joel Pineiro (W,6-9) 8622150 5.43
Eddie Guardado (S,31) 1100010 1.85
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Pineiro 96-63, Eddie Guardado 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Pineiro 8-10, Eddie Guardado 2-0
Batters Faced - Joel Pineiro 30, Eddie Guardado 4
Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis, 2B3021100 .305
Mark Kotsay, CF4120002 .277
Jay Payton, LF4000003 .273
Eric Chavez, 3B4011000 .274
Scott Hatteberg, DH4000022 .276
Marco Scutaro, SS4010002 .242
Dan Johnson, 1B4110011 .292
Nick Swisher, RF3000011 .235
Adam Melhuse, C3000021 .253
Totals332721612 
Batting
2B - Mark Ellis (17, Pineiro)
RBI - Mark Ellis (42), Eric Chavez (80)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Ellis (17)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Mark Kotsay 2 (4, misplayed grounder)
Oakland Athletics
Joe Kennedy (L,7-10) 6.1632060 5.87
Justin Duchscherer 1.2100000 2.07
Huston Street 1100010 1.20
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kennedy 92-62, Justin Duchscherer 29-20, Huston Street 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kennedy 9-4, Justin Duchscherer 2-3, Huston Street 2-0
Batters Faced - Joe Kennedy 25, Justin Duchscherer 6, Huston Street 4
Game Information
Attendance - 24012
Game Time - 2:18
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Lazaro Diaz