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.
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.
|June 23, 2012||Collin Cowgill||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|June 20, 2012||Brandon McCarthy||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 18, 2012||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Bartolo Colon||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 13, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|June 06, 2012||Andrew Carignan||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 13, 2012||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|June 12, 2012||Mike Carp||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder injury|
|June 11, 2012||Mike Carp||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 05, 2012||Felix Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Lower back soreness|
|May 07, 2012||Blake Beavan||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow contusion|
|May 01, 2012||Miguel Olivo||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Brendan Ryan works with Seattle hitting coach Chris Chambliss every day and often gets encouragement from Mariners staff members at Safeco Field.
Even a few hotel doormen have offered advice, trying to help Ryan out of his season-long malaise at the plate.
Finally, it appears something is working.
Ryan hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to send Seattle to a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
The light-hitting infielder has a .182 average but is batting .323 with seven RBIs in his last 10 games. He thinks his balance at the plate has been a big reason for the recent turnaround and he knows he can't dwell on his prior struggles.
"Not many guys handle it very well, whether it's your second year in or your 14th year in," Ryan said. "It's not fun. It's not easy to deal with failure. Especially when you're playing every day and it's Groundhog Day every day. It's not for lack of putting the work in or hunger or effort."
Ryan's hit off reliever Jim Miller drove in Casper Wells , who singled and stole second.
Miller (2-1) had given up only three earned runs in 23 2-3 innings coming into the game before Ryan lined an RBI single over leaping second baseman Jemile Weeks .
That made a winner of reliever Charlie Furbush (4-1), who pitched around two walks in the eighth. Tom Wilhelmsen worked a clean ninth inning for his sixth save in seven tries.
Ryan's hit and the late bullpen work picked up Brandon League , who took over for starter Jason Vargas in the seventh and allowed the tying run on a single by Jonny Gomes . Derek Norris also singled before League retired Cliff Pennington to keep the score tied at 2.
That left Vargas without a decision even though he matched a career high with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander allowed three hits and two earned runs.
Yoenis Cespedes hit his eighth home run for Oakland when he smashed a line drive over the left-center fence in the seventh. It was the 21st home run allowed this season by Vargas, who gave up a career-high 22 last season.
Vargas' changeup away was a dominant pitch against Oakland's right-handed batters.
"There was something that needed to change and I needed to get my changeup to a point where it was a factor in the game," Vargas said.
Travis Blackley went seven innings for the A's, giving up two runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked one before leaving because of a stiff back.
"Over the last year, it's been coming and going," Blackley said. "It was great early and just kind of started getting a bit stiff on me, so they thought it was best to go with a fresh guy."
Franklin Gutierrez 's third-inning drive to center field that hit the top of the wall scored Dustin Ackley and ended another ignominious Seattle offensive streak of 25 scoreless innings.
Prior to Gutierrez's double, Seattle hadn't scored since the fourth inning of Saturday night's game in San Diego. The Mariners' record for consecutive scoreless innings is 30, set last season when the team had the fewest runs in the majors.
Oakland put two runners on in the eighth when Furbush walked Weeks, then later intentionally walked Cespedes. Furbush struck out Brandon Inge to end the threat.
"Even if he is struggling some, he has good at-bats off left-handers," A's manager Bob Melvin said, explaining his confidence in Inge. "We don't expect him to hit .350. He's going to have struggles at the plate like anyone else."
Ackley and Ichiro Suzuki singled ahead of Gutierrez's double in the third. Kyle Seager drove in Suzuki with a sacrifice fly to put Seattle in front 2-0, but Gutierrez was thrown out at third when trying to tag and advance.
Vargas rolled through the first six innings. He struck out the side in the second and fifth, allowing just a hit. Vargas hit Gomes with an 0-2 pitch in the third, giving Oakland its first runner, and allowed his first hit in the fourth.
Blackley matched him following the bumpy third. He allowed just two runners over the next four innings - a walk to Wells and a single by Suzuki - before covering first on a groundout to end the seventh.
Vargas faced the minimum through the first three innings, pumping in strikes. Of his first 34 pitches, 26 were strikes.
"You could tell right from the beginning of the ballgame that he was more aggressive," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
Vargas combined with Monday's starter, Erasmo Ramirez , to become the first Seattle duo to strikeout 10-plus batters in consecutive outings since Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia in August 1999.
Blackley's last start at Safeco Field was July 21, 2004, when he was pitching for the Mariners and faced the A's. He received a no-decision.
NOTES: The Mariners improved to 13-20 at home. They have played the most road games (43) in the majors. ... Ramirez became the eighth Seattle rookie to have a double-digit strikeout game when he whiffed 10 Oakland batters on Monday. ... The A's came in leading the majors in runs (118) and walks (90) in June.