OAKLAND, Calif. &
One week in the big leagues and Wes Bankston already looks comfortable.
Bankston hit his first career home run, a two-run shot off Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn in the fifth inning, helping Dana Eveland win his third straight decision as the Oakland Athletics snapped an eight-game home losing skid to the Mariners with a 4-3 win.
"To finally get here, it's been an amazing past week," said Bankston, who spent six seasons in the minors before getting called up by Oakland last Wednesday when shortstop Bobby Crosby went on the disabled list. "All the hard work you go through to get to this point, it's pretty special. Now I just have to work even harder to stay here."
Eveland (7-5) picked up the win despite a shaky outing. The right-hander gave up three runs in the first and pitched with runners in scoring position in five of the first six innings. He left after allowing nine hits over 5 1-3 innings.
The A's made up for their starting pitcher's struggles by turning three double plays, getting help in the fifth when Adrian Beltre failed to retouch third base after rounding the bag on a fly out by Kenji Johjima. Rookie center fielder Carlos Gonzalez also made a strong play to throw out Willie Bloomquist at the plate in the second after Raul Ibanez singled.
But it was Bankston, the 24-year-old slugger with 106 home runs in the minors including 14 for Triple-A Sacramento this year, who provided the game's snapshot moment with his two-run home run off Washburn that helped rally Oakland to the win.
Bankston, who also doubled off the wall in center and scored in the second inning, connected on the first pitch he saw from Washburn in the fifth over the wall in left-center to tie the game at 3. Two outs later Ryan Sweeney drove in Gregorio Petit with the eventual game-winning run for the A's, who hadn't beaten the Mariners at the Coliseum since July 5, 2007.
"It felt good. It was exciting, especially for it to be a tight game," said Bankston, who raised his averaged to .391 since being called up. "In that situation I'm looking for something up so I can drive it. Fortunately I hit the ball enough for it to get it out of the ballpark."
Seattle fell to 7-10 under interim manager Jim Riggleman.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 20 opportunities but it wasn't easy. A throwing error by third baseman Jack Hannahan allowed Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki to reach second base with one out, and Street walked Jose Lopez before getting Raul Ibanez to pop out and Adrian Beltre to fly to left to end the game.
Beltre finished 4-for-5 and Richie Sexson added a three-run home run for the Mariners.
Sexson, who has struggled all season, homered off Eveland in the first inning. It was the first home run allowed by Eveland in eight starts, a stretch of 42 1-3 innings.
Washburn (4-8) gave up four runs in eight innings and blamed himself for the home run by Bankston.
"That's what happens when you don't know the batters," said Washburn, who lost for the first time in six starts. "Oakland is usually very patient over there but he must have been looking for the pitch."
Riggleman, who took over the Mariners' job after John McLaren was fired on June 19, was encouraged by Washburn's outing. Seattle's rotation has been plagued by injuries all season and the bullpen was depleted to the point where backup catcher Jamie Burke had to pitch in relief during the team's 2-1 loss to Detroit in 15 innings on Sunday.
"What (Washburn) did for us sets us up for the rest of the series but that's a game we've got to get," Riggleman said. "We didn't have the killer instinct."
The game was a reunion for Riggleman and A's manager Bob Geren. Riggleman, who took over the Mariners' job after John McLaren was fired on June 19, managed Geren twice in the minors and with San Diego in 1993.
Notes: All four of Beltre's hits were singles. ... A's RHP Brad Ziegler pitched two shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak to 18. It's the longest streak by a pitcher to start his career in Oakland history. ... A's DH Frank Thomas underwent an MRI on Monday but the results were not immediately available. Thomas is on the DL with a right quadriceps injury. ... The Mariners plan to push LHP Erik Bedard's next start back and Riggleman acknowledged the team is considering shelving their ace until after the All-Star break. Bedard (4-5) has won his last two starts but has been bothered by tightness in his pitching shoulder. ... Seattle expects closer J.J. Putz to make at least two rehab appearances before coming off the DL following the All-Star break.
A's snap skid vs. Mariners
OAKLAND, Calif. &