Mariners-Athletics preview

OAKLAND, Calif. — It's been three months since Oakland A's rookie left-hander Sean Manaea faced the Seattle Mariners in his second career major league start. Try as he might, Manaea can't forget the 1-0 fastball he threw to Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz with a runner on base in the fifth inning.

Cruz sent Manaea's pitch some 435 feet into the second deck in center field at the Oakland Coliseum. It was a monster shot that landed in an area that home runs rarely reach in Oakland.

“I gave up a bomb to Nelson Cruz,” Manaea said. “It's probably still going. I try to forget about those hits.”

Manaea will face the Mariners on Friday for the first time since that May 4 game. He gave up seven hits and four runs — all in the fifth inning — and got a no-decision in a 9-8 A's loss. Manaea struck out six and walked one.

And yes, he's looking forward to a rematch against Cruz and the Mariners.

“He's pretty scary in the box,” Manaea said. “He's huge. They're playing good baseball right now and we're playing good baseball. So it will be a fun matchup.

“I know I'm going to face him a lot more throughout my career. It's nice to get him again.”

Manaea is 3-7 with a 4.58 ERA overall, but he's gone 1-3 with a 3.12 ERA in eight games, including seven starts, since being activated from the disabled list June 29 after recovering from a strained left forearm.

Manaea has allowed 16 home runs overall, including five over his past three starts and two in each of his previous two outings.

“The guys up here are really, really good and if you make a mistake they're going to make you pay,” Manaea said. “That's something I've got to focus on in growing as a player is minimizing mistakes, try to focus on every pitch to make it the best I can.”

Cruz and Robinson Cano each hit solo home runs Wednesday when the Mariners defeated Detroit 3-1 to sweep the three-game series and win their sixth straight game. Cruz has 28 home runs, Cano 25 and Kyle Seager 21. They'll come into Friday's series opener against Oakland well rested after an off day.

“A lot of things are starting to come together,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Wednesday's win. “Whether it's our bullpen jibing — the pieces are starting to come together there — the offense, the timely hitting, just the belief in our team.”

And, of course, the power. The Mariners have hit 159 home runs, third most in the major leagues.

The Mariners are expected to send rookie left-hander Ariel Miranda to the mound for his second major league start. That's unless they have a change of plans after using Miranda for an inning of relief on Tuesday in their 6-5, 15-inning victory against Detroit on Tuesday.

Seattle acquired Miranda from Baltimore in a trade deadline deal for left-hander Wade Miley. Miranda made his Mariners debut on Saturday against Boston and allowed two runs over six innings in a 3-2 loss. He struck out five and walked one.

The 60-53 Mariners will face an A's team that fell to 51-63 on Thursday with a 9-6 loss to Baltimore but took 3-of-4 from the Orioles.