Athletics-Mariners preview - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Seattle Mariners

Athletics-Mariners preview

Updated:
SEATTLE -

by Stats LLC, Associated Press

The Seattle Mariners haven't scored in 23 innings as they get ready to see a face from the past that their long-time fans probably don't remember.

Travis Blackley will finally meet the team he pitched for as a rookie eight years ago when his Oakland Athletics continue a three-game set Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

Seattle (31-44) was shut out for the second straight game and ninth time this year after Monday's 1-0 defeat. The Mariners are averaging a major league-worst 3.00 runs per game at home.

Blackley (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will pitch at Safeco for the first time since he was a rookie with Seattle in 2004 when he went 1/3 with a 10.04 ERA in six starts overall. The Australian didn't return to the big leagues again until 2007.

It took another five years after that for Blackley to start his third stint in the majors this year, and he was claimed by Oakland (36-38) off waivers from San Francisco on May 15.

His pickup appears to be a shrewd move by general manager Billy Beane. Blackley enters off the best start of his career, allowing one run over eight innings although the left-hander did not receive a decision Thursday in a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.

Seattle is 8-14 against southpaw starters this year.

Blackley will try to successfully follow up on Monday's strong effort from Tommy Milone, who allowed seven hits and no walks in seven innings to earn his eighth victory.

Seth Smith's second-inning homer off Erasmo Ramirez was all the offense Oakland needed in its third win in eight 2012 meetings with Seattle. Smith is hitting .370 with 14 RBIs over his last 18 games.

A's manager Bob Melvin plans to start slugger Yoenis Cespedes in left field Tuesday. Cespedes went 5 for 23 over the last six games as the club's designated hitter while resting a strained left hamstring.

"Sometimes he looked like he'd rather be out on the field and wanted to do more," Melvin told the A's official website. "For a guy who's used to being on the field, the time between at-bats when you're DH-ing can be a challenge, but I think he's been reasonably good at it."

Cespedes had three homers and seven RBIs in Oakland's first four meetings with Seattle before being limited to a single in 14 at-bats in the last four.

Melvin also will give rookie catcher Derek Norris his fourth start Tuesday. Norris hit a walk-off, three-run-homer in Sunday's 4-2 victory over San Francisco before the manager opted Monday for Kurt Suzuki to catch Milone.

Seattle will give the ball to Jason Vargas (7-7, 4.66), who has posted a 9.33 ERA in losing his last three outings. The left-hander was tagged for a career-high 10 runs over 4 1/3 innings Wednesday in a 14-10 defeat at Arizona, becoming the fifth pitcher this year to give up five homers in a start.

"He had an off day, he wasn't in command of the ball and he was working behind in the count," manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners' official website.

Vargas, who has allowed a major league-high 20 homers, is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two 2012 starts against Oakland.

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