OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Swisher planned on having an easy
afternoon Wednesday after Oakland manager Ken Macha told him he had
the day off.
"I was going to use it to get my head right, and the next thing
you know I'm up there hitting," he said.
Swisher walked with the bases loaded to force in the final run
as the Athletics overcame a four-run ninth-inning deficit in a win
for the first time in 48 years, beating the Seattle Mariners 8-7.
"The way things have been going, to pull off a win like this
gives us momentum and confidence," Swisher said. "The way it
happened was cool."
Mark Kotsay and Eric Chavez hit two-run doubles before Swisher's
walk. The last time the Athletics came back from four runs down in
the ninth to win was in a doubleheader opener on July 4, 1957, when
the Kansas City A's beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau.
"That shows you right there how big a win this was," A's
closer Huston Street said. "In order to score five runs you have
to do a lot of things and get a little lucky. It was unbelievable.
You saw everybody coming through."
Seattle led 5-0 after three innings and was on the verge of
sweeping its first series at Oakland since April 2001 before the
comeback against Eddie Guardado (1-2), who blew a save for the
third time in 34 chances, and Jeff Nelson, who walked Swisher on a
Chavez drove in four runs as the A's stopped a four-game losing
streak. Street (5-1) got the win for Oakland, which began the day
1½ games out in both the AL West and the wild-card race.
"When they got the extra run, I looked up and noticed a whole
lot of people heading for the exit gates," Macha said. "That was
a rough start, but what a comeback."
Swisher, who entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth, was in an
0-for-15 slide when he led off the ninth with Oakland trailing 7-3
and singled off J.J. Putz. Mark Ellis walked, and Guardado relieved
and gave up a single to Jason Kendall that loaded the bases.
"I didn't bear down," Guardado said. "It would have been nice
to sweep those guys but it was a bad day. It's the first time this
has happened in a while."
"Seven days off, and I come in with the bases loaded," Nelson
said. "I made the one out, and that 2-2 pitch was close. The 3-2
pitch was away. The inning happened too quickly. You have to make
Swisher was in a 5-for-56 slide before the single.
"I think I have been thinking too much and getting myself
flustered," he said. "I was kind of relaxed. I was looking for a
good pitch to hit and ended up walking. It was a sigh of relief."
Richie Sexson hit his 33rd homer, and Raul Ibanez doubled twice
for Seattle. Mariners starter Ryan Franklin, 0-4 in his last nine
starts against the A's, allowed three runs and eight hits in five
A's starter Dan Haren failed to get out of the third for the
first time this year, giving up five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3
innings. Haren had allowed six earned runs over 21 innings in his
three previous starts against Seattle.
"It would have been a devastating loss," Haren said. "Now
there's 20 games left and every one is important. Fortunately, we
came back, and that will make it a little easier to forget."
Ibanez hit an RBI double in the first and scored on a single by
Greg Dobbs. Run-scoring doubles in the third by Ibanez and Jose
Lopez around Beltre's run-scoring grounder made it 5-0.
Chavez led off the fourth with his 23rd homer, but Sexson's
homer against Juan Cruz made it 6-1 in the fifth.
Kotsay hit an RBI double in the bottom half. and Chavez had a
run-scoring grounder. Jeremy Reed double in a run for Seattle in
the ninth against Street.
Chavez did not strike out for the ninth straight game, the
second-longest such streak of his career. Chavez has hit 26 homers
and has 73 RBI against Seattle, his most against any team. ... The
A's lost their fifth straight home series, the longest such streak
since April-May 1994 (also five straight). ... The Mariners
recalled INF Ramon Santiago from Triple-A Tacoma. ... The A's are
18-7 in games decided in the last at bat.
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