Athletics 5, Mariners 2

The Mariners seem to keep finding ways to lose lately.

Sometimes, it’s the bullpen self-destructing. Other times, it’s

the offense struggling to provide any run support for Seattle’s

starting pitchers or the defense making costly errors.

The Mariners’ 5-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday was

just the latest example.

”We’ve got to break through this,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge

said. ”We had opportunities on and off throughout the course of

the ballgame. These guys are going to have to figure out a way to

fight through whatever they are going through mentally,

fundamentally for that matter, and finish off innings. That’s the

difference in the ballgame.”

Brett Anderson (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and struck

out six for the victory. Brian Fuentes came on in the eighth inning

and struck out three of his four batters in picking up the four-out

save. It was his sixth save in seven chances.

Mariners starter Doug Fister gave the team a chance to win. He

allowed just one run on four hits over six innings and left with

the game knotted at 1. It was Fister’s third quality start in his

last four outings and he has allowed three runs or less in all but

one of his starts this year. Yet Fister has just one win to show

for his efforts.

”He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled,” Wedge said.

”He didn’t give in to it. I thought that was a gutsy performance

on his part.

”I’ve been thrilled with the way he’s thrown the ball this

year.”

Coco Crisp had three hits, scored three runs and stole a base,

and Anderson pitched seven strong innings as the A’s earned a

series split.

With the game tied at 1 in the seventh, Crisp reached on a

fielder’s choice against reliever Aaron Laffey (0-1) and moved to

third on a single by pinch-hitter Conor Jackson. Josh Willingham

followed with a double down the left-field line that Milton Bradley

misplayed in the corner and allowed Jackson to score from first to

give Oakland a 3-1 lead.

Seattle got a run back in the bottom half as Michael Saunders

led off with an infield single. Jack Wilson reached on a throwing

error by Kevin Kouzmanoff and the runners advanced as the ball

caromed into the stands. Ryan Langerhans picked up an RBI on a

groundout to first that allowed Saunders to score, but Wilson was

left stranded at third as Ichiro Suzuki flew out to center and

Chone Figgins struck out looking.

”You just keep on playing,” Wilson said. ”Every team is going

to go through a rut like that. We just won two in a row then had

two tough games and Anderson was pretty darn good out there and we

just couldn’t get a jump on him.”

The Mariners threatened again in the eighth inning, but

pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez struck out to strand the tying run at

third.

An error by Figgins on a possible double play ball kept the

ninth inning alive and Willingham doubled to score two more runs

for insurance off Jamey Wright to seal the win.

After the game, Seattle optioned right-hander Josh Lueke to

Triple-A Tacoma and recalled righty Dan Cortes in hoping of helping

stabilize a battered bullpen.

Anderson allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out six over

seven innings of work to earn the victory. Brian Fuentes came on in

the eighth inning and struck out three of his four batters in

picking up the four-out save. It was his sixth save in seven

chances.

Hideki Matsui came up with a two out single to right field that

scored Crisp from second to give Oakland the 1-0 lead.

Suzuki led off with a bunt single of his own in the bottom half

of the first and, despite being picked off by Anderson, was able to

get into second base safely when Daric Barton’s throw hit him in

the backside.

A grounder to second by Bradley brought Suzuki home and tied it

at 1.

Fister worked out of a jam in the fifth after giving up a

leadoff triple to Crisp. Adam Kennedy snared a one-hopper from

Barton at first and kept Crisp from advancing home. Fister then

forced David DeJesus to pop up to third base and Willingham flew

out to end the threat.

Crisp then flashed his glove. In the sixth inning, Miguel Olivo

led off with a drive to center that Crisp tracked down and caught

running full speed before slamming into the wall with his left

shoulder. Crisp seemed to favor it briefly before shaking it off

and staying in.

Notes: After the game, Seattle optioned OF Carlos Peguero and

RHP Josh Lueke to Triple-A Tacoma. The team activated 1B Justin

Smoak off the bereavement list and recalled RHP Dan Cortes. Both

Smoak and Cortes will be with the team Tuesday in Detroit. …

Crisp recorded his third triple of the season, tied for most in the

majors with Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez. All three of Crisp’s 3-hit

games this year have come against Seattle pitching. … Suzuki was

the team’s designated hitter for the first time this season getting

the day off in the field.