The Oakland Athletics have had their hands full in the first two games of this weekend set, and they could be in for another long day at the plate Sunday.
Runs may be hard to come by for the Mariners, too.
In what sets up as a pitchers' duel, Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound opposite Bartolo Colon as the visiting Mariners try for their first three-game road sweep of the Athletics in more than four years.
After snapping Oakland's 11-game home winning streak with Friday's 3-2 win, Seattle (31-38) pulled out a 4-0 victory Saturday for its fourth win in five games. The Mariners, who improved to 6-3 in the series this year, haven't swept the A's in Oakland since April 10-12, 2009.
"I was hoping I could still get a job and show them I can still play," said Blanco, who was signed Friday - four days after his release by Toronto. "That was a special day."
Seattle now turns to Iwakuma (7-1, 1.79 ERA), who leads the AL with a 6.21 strikeout-to-walk ratio and ranks second in the majors in ERA. The right-hander, who's gone 28 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run, is 5-0 over a nine-start stretch and 10-1 with a 1.81 ERA over his last 17 outings dating to September.
"He's been about as consistent as any pitcher in baseball, and for quite a while now," manager Eric Wedge told MLB's official website.
Iwakuma beat Houston on Monday, allowing one unearned run and four hits while striking out eight in seven innings of a 3-2 victory.
"He has that four-seamer that like goes downhill then flattens out, with the split off that," shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "He has his change, slider. He uses his big curveball a lot to get ahead. He's got a complete repertoire and uses it intelligently. This is what we've come to expect out of him now. It's pretty awesome."
Iwakuma has baffled Oakland (41-29) in two wins this year, allowing three runs in 13 innings with 16 strikeouts and no walks. Seth Smith , Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss are a combined 0 for 19 against him while Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson are both 1 for 7. Yoenis Cespedes , though, is 3 for 9 with two homers and a double in their matchups.
Colon (8-2, 2.92) has also shined this year, and he's been especially good over the last three-plus weeks. The former AL Cy Young award winner has surrendered a combined three runs during a five-start winning streak.
"He's throwing the ball great," catcher Derek Norris said of Colon, who won a career-best six straight outings July 9-Aug. 7, 2004. "You couldn't ask any more of him. He's a great competitor and a great pitcher, and it's a pleasure to be back there working with him."
Having allowed just 10 walks all year, Colon issued a season-high four Tuesday but managed to limit the damage, allowing three hits over six scoreless innings in a 6-4 win over the Yankees.
"His ball moves," Yankees catcher Chris Stewart . "It does different things at different times. Sometimes it's going more side to side, sometimes it's going more down. He's tough. He uses both sides of the plate, he doesn't really throw the same pitch twice. He just keeps you off balance."
Colon went 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA over four starts versus Seattle in 2012, yielding a combined two runs in three of those outings and seven in the other. Kendrys Morales and Michael Saunders are both 1 for 11 versus Colon and Ryan is 0 for 8.
|June 08, 2013||Kendrys Morales||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|June 06, 2013||Jesus Sucre||15-Day DL||Left wrist sprain|
|June 04, 2013||Jesus Sucre||Day-to-Day||Left game - left wrist injury|
|June 01, 2013||Jesus Montero||Day-to-Day||Torn left meniscus|
|May 30, 2013||Justin Smoak||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|May 16, 2013||Aaron Harang||Day-to-Day||Lower back stiffness|
|June 11, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||60-Day DL||Right foot stress fracture|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Bartolo Colon was feeling a little run down during the second inning. He felt a lot better after Josh Reddick made a shoestring catch that saved a couple more runs.
Colon worked seven strong innings to win his sixth straight decision, Reddick homered and matched a career high with four hits, and the Oakland Athletics avoided a sweep with a 10-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
"I did feel tired during the second inning and was just trying to find a way to get through it," Colon said. "All I can say is that was the best play. I felt, `Wow' and was ready to get the next guys out."
That catch, with the bases loaded and two runs already in, helped Oakland's pitchers face the minimum 23 batters the rest of the way, with a pair of double plays erasing the lone baserunners.
"He made several good plays," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That play probably had a lot to do with getting the momentum back and allowing Bartolo to get his second wind."
Sean Smith and Brandon Moss each homered and drove in two runs for the Athletics, who moved three games ahead of Texas in the AL West - their largest lead since ending the 2006 season four games up. Josh Donaldson also went deep, and Yoenis Cespedes , Coco Crisp and John Jaso each drove in runs for Oakland.
"I had a feeling about it as I was running in and watching it sink," Reddick said. "I shoestringed it and was kind of lucky because the ball was moving."
Colon (9-2) allowed two runs on eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three to extend his home win streak to seven.
"Today could have gotten away from him early," Donaldson said. "Reddick made that nice catch and it kind of picked him up. Bartolo is a never-say-die guy anyway. You know he's going to come back and throw strikes."
Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2) lost for the first time since April 23, giving up four runs on a season high-tying eight hits. He also walked Jaso three times and struck out three. Iwakuma's streak of not allowing an earned run was stopped at 31 2-3 innings, second longest in Mariners' history to Mark Langston 's 34-inning streak in 1988.
Endy Chavez had two hits and drove in two runs for the Mariners, who were looking for their first sweep of the season.
Michael Morse , Jason Bay and Mike Zunino each singled to open the second inning for Seattle. After Colon struck out Brendan Ryan , Chavez delivered a two-run single. Nick Franklin singled to reload the bases, but Colon got Kyle Seager and Kendrys Morales on short fly balls to limit the damage.
"That was a great play. Seager couldn't hit that ball any harder," Mariners' manager Eric Wedge said. "He hit it so hard it stayed for Reddick to get it. He's got a great arm too, so that was a tough one there."
Iwakuma allowed his first earned run since May 26 when the A's got to him in the fourth. Donaldson and Smith hit back-to-back doubles to open the inning and Reddick followed with an RBI single.
Cespedes and Moss each drove in a run in the fifth to make it 4-2.
Colon slammed the door on the Mariners after the second, retiring 11 straight before allowing Morse's single in the sixth. Colon induced a double play ball from Bay and then worked a perfect seventh.
"He didn't change a thing," Chavez said of Colon. "He kept throwing the same things, a sinker inside and a fastball outside for strikes."
Donaldson and Smith hit back-to-back home runs with one out in the seventh against Blake Beaven. Crisp later walked with the bases loaded and Jaso hit a sacrifice fly against Tom Wilhelmsen to make it 8-2.
Moss and Reddick each went deep in the ninth against Carter Capps .
Sean Doolittle and Dan Otero pitched an inning apiece to close it out.
Notes: Mariners LHP prospect Danny Hultzen (rotator cuff strain) remains at extended spring training. The former first-round draft pick last appeared in a game on April 19 with Triple-A Tacoma. Manager Eric Wedge said before the game that Hultzen would remain in Peoria while he continues to build arm strength. ... A's INF Jed Lowrie was given the day off as manager Bob Melvin continues to deal with the effects of Thursday's 18-inning game against the New York Yankees . ... Cespedes will likely return to the outfield when the A's open a four-game series at Texas on Monday. ... Colon threw 31 pitches in the second inning, the first time he's thrown 30 or more in an inning this year. ... INF Justin Smoak (strained right oblique) could return to the Mariners lineup as early as Monday night in Anaheim. ... The A's hit more than two home runs in a game at home for the first time this year. ... RHP Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. He threw a two-hit shutout in his last start. ... The A's will send RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 4.45) to the mound against the Rangers. He's 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA over his last five starts.