Mariners-Athletics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 05, 2012
Oakland's Tommy Milone has been outstanding at home. If he can continue his dominant pitching there, he should have a good chance to get the surging Athletics back to .500 for the first time in six weeks. Milone and the A's open a three-game series Friday night against the Mariners, who should be very happy to temporarily leave the spacious dimensions of Safeco Field. Oakland (41-42) has won four straight and 15 of 22 after a three-game sweep of Boston. "We just need to win every game we can right now," third baseman Brandon Inge told Oakland's official website following a 3-2 victory Wednesday. "I think we're a team that can hang with anyone. It's a matter of pulling it all together." While the hitting hasn't been consistent, Oakland's pitching has been. The Athletics' 3.43 ERA leads the AL, with the starters posting a 1.89 mark in the last 20 games. A.J. Griffin, making his third career start Wednesday, allowed one earned run in six innings. Milone (3-6, 4.00 ERA) has done his share, mostly in Oakland where's he's gone 5-1 with a 0.99 ERA in six outings. "Every time he takes the mound, I feel good about him pitching," manager Bob Melvin said. "Certainly the numbers would suggest that he pitches great here. Now that's not going to happen all the time, but certainly to this point at the season, here we are at the halfway point, he's had a good game here at home every time." The left-hander's last two starts have come on the road. He gave up six runs - one earned - in five innings of a 7-2 loss to Texas on Saturday. Milone's previous outing came at Seattle on June 25, when he scattered seven hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win. He pitched six innings and gave up four runs in a 4-0 road loss to the Mariners on April 14. Oakland is looking to match its longest winning streak of the season, set June 12-16, and get back to .500 for the first time since May 22. Facing the Mariners' struggling lineup could help, as Seattle (35-49) has lost seven of 11 while totaling 21 runs in that span. The club was held to three hits in a 4-2 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday. "Every position player out there has a job to do and they are not getting it done right now," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's obvious." Seattle's problems at the plate, however, appear to be due in large part to pitcher-friendly Safeco. The Mariners, who just completed a 10-game homestand, are last in baseball with 117 runs scored at home but second in the major leagues with 211 runs on the road. Seattle has averaged 6.8 runs in its last 17 away from home, scoring at least 10 runs six times in that span. Kevin Millwood (3-6, 4.00) will take the mound for the first time since leaving after 2 2-3 innings against Oakland on June 27 with a strained groin. The right-hander allowed a solo home run and struck out three in that outing - his second this season in which he left due to the groin injury. The A's are 4-6 against the Mariners and dropped three of four at home to them March 28-April 7. Seattle totaled 15 runs in the last two games of that series.
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