Mariners can't stop A's from clinching

Mariners can't stop A's from clinching

SEATTLE -- The streak might have ended Monday, but the Oakland's A's looked every bit as dominating on Tuesday as they have been all season against the Seattle Mariners.

A night after seeing their 15-game winning streak over Seattle end, the A's rolled to the American League West Division crown with a 12-3 victory over the Mariners before a crowd of 19,604 at Safeco Field.

The Mariners certainly had more than a hand in the A's drive to the title this season, as Seattle is now just 2-16 against Oakland.

"At least we scared them a little," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "Hopefully it will be better next year."

The A's roughed up starting pitcher Jake Woods (6-4) to the tune of six runs on 11 hits with three walks over four innings. Reliever Jorge Campillo didn't fare much better -- allowing four runs in 2 1/3 innings.

"They didn't miss many pitches," Hargrove said. "... [Woods] got to two strikes and couldn't put them away. You can't throw to the middle of the plate and get away with it."

The A's (91-66) went into Tuesday's game needing a victory over the Mariners (76-82) and a loss by the Angels against Texas.

They got both. Then they got to celebrate.

The Mariners? They didn't get much a night after erasing a 9-3 deficit for a 10-9 victory in 10 innings over the A's. The victory was Seattle's first over the A's since a 6-2 victory on April 6.

The A's got right back to doing what they do best against Seattle on Tuesday, though -- mixing together enough strong starting pitching with some timely hitting.

Oakland starter Rich Harden (4-0) allowed two hits over five scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his second start since coming off the disabled list, where he was sidelined with a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow.

Harden showed plenty of pop on his fastball and exceeded the pitch count that Oakland manager Ken Macha had targeted for him by one pitch, as he needed 76 to get through five innings.

The Mariners couldn't do much with Harden -- whose fastball topped out at 97 mph, but had an early chance at getting back in the game in the third inning when they trailed 5-0.

Chris Snelling started the inning with a single and No. 9 hitter Rene Rivera did the same. But that's when the inning started to stall, as Harden got Willie Bloomquist -- who started in center field for Ichiro Suzuki -- and Jose Lopez on fly balls.

Harden then plunked Adrian Beltre with a pitch to load the bases. But the right-hander blazed a 96 mph fastball by Raul Ibanez for the third out of the inning. The Mariners never came close again to touching Harden, who mixed in a devastating split-finger fastball and a sinker on occasion.

It was only after Harden departed that Seattle finally got its offense going, as Beltre and Ibanez hit consecutive home runs in the sixth inning off reliever Kirk Saarloos. Beltre's home run was his 22nd of the season. For Ibanez, it was his 32nd.

The Mariners added a run in the ninth inning when Greg Dobbs -- who doubled leading off -- scored from third base on a groundout by Mike Morse.

But, by then, it was far too late for the Mariners.

The A's success against Woods proved a little surprising in that the left-hander tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start against Chicago.

"Everything got hit tonight," Woods said. "I didn't get away with anything. I had a few balls up. I made some decent pitches but they got hit hard. They swung it and put it in play."

Ichiro didn't play Tuesday after being hit in the back of the left shoulder with a ball on an errant pickoff attempt on Monday, thus ending his streak of 396 consecutive games played.

"I'm not going to run him out there in a game like this just to pinch-hit," Hargrove said. "He didn't come to me and ask for it."

After the game, a scattering of Mariners watched the A's celebrate on the field. Ibanez said there's a lesson there for the Mariners, especially the young players.

"That's what the goal is," Ibanez said. "You've seen a lot of good things but that's what you play for ... being on the field celebrating."

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.