Knocked out of his last start as much by a line drive off his calf as by the Detroit Tigers, Ryan Rowland-Smith is back with a goal.
He wants to get deep into the game tonight, and he wants 100 or more pitches - something he's done only once this season. Manager Don Wakamatsu says the answer is simple: Be pitching well at No. 99 and you'll get No. 100. Struggle, and you're likely not going much further.
Ichiro is still down with a calf strain, and the rejuvenated Mike Sweeney is the designated hitter against lefty Brett Anderson
Jack Hannahan is batting second to Franklin Gutierrez's leadoff.
It's up to Rowland-Smith to set the tone, and he's seriously pumped. His calf and his ERA took a significant hit in Detroit, and he wants a third vicory tonight.
It's never easy
Kurt Suzuki doubled, Scott Hairston and Jack Cust singled - all with two out - to put Oakland up a run.
Hairston's RBI single was on an off-balance swing, way out front on a breaking pitch. Luck plays a role.
In the first: Athletics 1, Mariners 0
That makes it even
Russell Branyan's two-out solo home run - his 31st of the season - tied the game.
It was Branyan's 10th against a left-handed pitcher this year in his 154th at-bat.
After two: Mariners 1, Athletics 1
Trying to manufacture a run
Both teams have offenses that aren't known for big innings, and each has tried to make something from very little tonight.
Michael Saunders bunted for a hit in the third inning, then Oakland's Cliff Pennington bunted for one in the fifth. Neither led to a run.
This one could turn on a single swing, one of those late-inning home runs that produces a one-run win.
In the fifth: Mariners 1, Athletics 1
Almost a rally!
Gutierrez opened the sixth with a single, Hannahan singled him to second and Jose Lopez ... well, he grounded into a double play.
With Gutierrez at third, Sweeney flied out.
After six: Mariners 1, Athletics 1
After Seattle opened the sixth with two hits and failed to score, Oakland matched that - a Mark Ellis double followed by a Ryan Sweeney single to get him to third base.
With his 94th pitch, Rowland-Smith got a popup from Pennington. On his 98th, Adam Kennedy singled home the Athle5tics second run - and Rowland-Smith was pulled in favor of Sean White.
In the seventh: Athletics 2, Mariners 1
A rally - with help
Wakamatsu is not a big pinch-hitting manager, but when Gutierrez walked with one out in the eighth against right-hander Michael Wuertz, he sent Ken Griffey Jr. up for Hannahan.
With Gutierrez running, Junior struck out. Lopez stood at the plate as the Mariners co-leader in RBI with 76 - sharing it with Branyan.
Lopez didn't get an RBI, but when Kennedy bobbled his ground ball, then kicked it into short center field, Lopez was safe at first and Gutierrez scored. Lopez stole second Sweeney struck out.
After eight: Mariners 2, Athletics 2
And in the ninth
David Aardsma put the Athletics down in order in the top of the ninth, handing the game over to Bill Hall, Branyan and Kenji Johjima in the bottom half.
Hall struck out. Branyan flied out to the wall in right field. Johjima - who had struck out in each of his first three at-bats - walked on four pitches.
Jack Wilson struck out.
And in the 10th
Mark Lowe put Oakland down in order in the top half, giving Seattle yet another chance to win.
Saunders fouled out. Gutierrez singled. Ryan Langerhans homered.
It's a final: Mariners 4, Athletics 2