Seattle rides another strong pitching effort to win

OAKLAND, Calif. &

Seattle's starters took it to Oakland again. This time, it was Carlos Silva.

Silva somehow wanted to match what Felix Hernandez did a day before.

The burly right-hander followed Hernandez's complete game with a gem of his own, leading the Mariners to their sixth straight win in the series with an 8-1 victory over the Athletics on Thursday night.

"Like we say, that's contagious," said Silva, who this past offseason received a $48 million, four-year contract from the Mariners. "The way he pitched last night, you want to repeat it. He gives you an idea how to pitch these guys. It's very hard to follow the game he threw last night."

If the Mariners hadn't held such a convincing lead, manager John McLaren might have let Silva go deeper than seven innings.

Jose Vidro hit a two-run single in Seattle's five-run third against Lenny DiNardo (1-1), Yuniesky Betancourt singled in a run that inning and Kenji Johjima drew a bases-loaded walk as the Mariners batted around. They won their third straight overall and sent the A's to their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Raul Ibanez produced his second consecutive three-hit game and fourth of the year and also had an RBI and scored a run. He has driven in at least one run in six of his last seven games and is batting .455 (15-for-33) with three home runs and 12 RBIs over his last eight games.

Jose Lopez added a two-run single in the eighth for his third hit.

Silva was thrilled to work with a comfortable lead after the third &

while Ibanez and Co. wanted to make sure they held up their end for the pitchers.

"Those guys did a phenomenal job," Ibanez said. "They worked fast, they pounded the strike zone and they forced a very patient team to swing the bat. ... Collectively, we've done a nice job as of late working the counts and seeing a lot of pitches and making the other team work."

Seattle, which won the 2007 season series 14-5 after a 2-17 showing the previous year, won its eighth straight in the Coliseum for Oakland's longest losing streak at home to the Mariners. The A's six-game skid is their longest ever to Seattle, surpassing five straight defeats from June 21-Sept. 22, 1998.

"We've just got to keep everybody encouraged," A's manager Bob Geren said. "There are a lot of young guys struggling a little bit right now."

Silva (3-0) was helped by double plays in the third and fourth innings, but Emil Brown put Oakland on the board with an RBI triple in the fourth after Jack Cust's two-out single. After the triple by Brown, Silva didn't allow another hit and retired 10 of his last 12 batters.

He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, struck out one and walked two. He walked back-to-back hitters with two outs in the sixth but escaped unscathed.

On Wednesday night, Hernandez pitched an eight-hitter for his first complete game since last April in a 4-2 Seattle victory. With the starters working deep into games and taking pressure off the bullpen, McLaren is having a much easier time dealing with the absence of injured closer J.J. Putz.

"I think Silva has been really good for Felix," McLaren said. "Silva's the type, 'I'm part of the starting rotation, too.' Everybody's been talking about Felix and (Erik) Bedard. He's a competitor."

Daric Barton doubled and walked and Cust was the only A's player to reach base twice against Silva, who improved to 19-8 lifetime against the AL West and won for the first time in four starts at the Coliseum.

DiNardo's day was done after 2 1-3 innings and 57 pitches in his second start of the year and fourth total appearance. The left-hander was tagged for five runs and five hits. He struck out two and walked four.

The Mariners haven't lost in the series with their AL West rival since last Sept. 11 at Safeco Field, but not in Oakland since a 3-2 setback on July 5, 2007.

"We're starting to build a little momentum," McLaren said. "We feel good about ourselves, we're playing good ball and we want to keep it going."


Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki stole his third base of the year and Willie Bloomquist swiped his first bag. ... Mariners 1B Richie Sexson was held out of the starting lineup to rest his tender leg and sore shoulder. "Let things calm down a bit," McLaren said. "He wants to play every day, but he's got some soreness." ... Putz, sidelined since April — with a ribcage injury, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Saturday. ... A's RHP Rich Harden, on the DL with a strained right shoulder, threw for the first time &

making 25 tosses from 80 feet &

and could go back-to-back days if he feels OK on Friday. ... The A's hope RHP Justin Duchscherer will be on schedule to pitch in a minor league rehab game Monday for Triple-A Sacramento in Las Vegas.

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