The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have lived up to their reputations as low-scoring teams through the first two games of this series.
That may mean good news for Wednesday's starting pitchers.
Kevin Millwood will try to pitch the Mariners to their seventh victory in 10 meetings with the Athletics, who counter with impressive rookie Jarrod Parker in the finale.
Seattle entered Tuesday's contest on a 23-inning scoreless streak after falling 1-0 to Oakland on Monday, but Brendan Ryan's RBI single in the eighth inning helped the Mariners earn a 3-2 victory.
Ryan is hitting only .182 this season, but he's batting .323 over his last 10 games.
``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.'
Seattle (32-44) has been outscored 82-58 while going 5-11 since its combined no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 8. Ichiro Suzuki has been one of the few Mariners hitting well lately along with Ryan, batting .483 during a seven-game hitting streak after going 2 for 3 on Tuesday.
The Mariners and A's have combined for an average of 6.2 total runs in their nine meetings this season, of which Seattle has won six. The Mariners' .238 average ranks 26th in the majors, while Oakland is hitting a baseball-worst .224.
Seattle's pitching staff has a 1.54 ERA over the last four games, and Millwood (3-6, 4.02 ERA) will look to bounce back from a couple of rough outings since leaving the team's no-hitter before the seventh inning with a strained groin.
He allowed eight runs and eight hits in five innings of a 9-5 loss to San Diego on Friday, dropping to 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA in five starts since winning three straight outings with a 0.41 ERA in May.
``The balls were up, breaking balls weren't good,' Millwood said. ``I just didn't pitch good, bottom line.'
The veteran right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last seven starts versus the A's, though he hasn't faced them since 2010.
Despite Tuesday's loss, Oakland (36-39) has won 10 of 14 while outscoring opponents 73-44. Yoenis Cespedes homered, but he's 3 for 18 (.167) over his last five games.
Brandon Inge went 0 for 4 and is hitting .172 in his last nine.
``We don't expect him to hit .350," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's going to have struggles at the plate like anyone else."
The pitching staff has been solid, though, combining for a 3.02 ERA over the last 14 contests, and Parker has plenty to do with that.
Aside from giving up six runs each May 18 at San Francisco and June 9 at Arizona, Parker (3-3, 2.70) hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his other nine starts. He gave up one run and four hits in six innings of Oakland's 5-4 loss to the Giants on Friday, as the bullpen surrendered four runs in the ninth to deny him the victory.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA against the AL.
The Associated Press News Service
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