SEATTLE (AP) - Cliff Pennington's 15-game hitting streak ended when he suddenly left in the sixth inning of Oakland's 8-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. He was lifted without explanation and without a noticeable reason for why he left.
The end of the hitting streak seemed somewhat meaningless shortly after the loss.
Pennington revealed he has Bell's palsy, a condition that can cause paralysis or weakness of the facial muscles. In some cases the face can droop and the nerve damage can even affect the ability to taste.
``I felt it a little last night after we landed here and it got worse today,' Pennington said.
The 27-year-old shortstop tried to play through the condition but eventually had to leave because he couldn't blink his left eye.
``It's like it was watering on me. I was trying to play with it but wasn't able to see the ball very well,' Pennington said. ``I didn't want to cost the team because I couldn't see. So as soon as I can blink, I'll play.'
Pennington is being treated with medication in the hope that the condition will go away as quickly as its onset. He said the feeling is as though the whole side of his face is numb.
``He said he was all right to play the game but as the game went along he just wasn't looking great,' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ``I wasn't comfortable with leaving him in there.'
The discovery of Pennington's condition overshadowed another poor performance from starter Trevor Cahill, who was roughed up for 12 hits by the offensively challenged Mariners. Seattle rookie Dustin Ackley continued his hitting tear with a pair of extra-base hits, including a bases-loaded triple and rookie righty Blake Beavan escaped early trouble to pitch well into the seventh.
While Beavan impressed, Cahill (9-10) continued to regress as Oakland started a brutal nine-game road trip to Seattle, Tampa Bay and Toronto. He lost for the fifth time in his last six decisions and in those five losses, his ERA is 9.24. In his last start, Cahill stemmed the losing streak with 7 1-3 shutout innings against Tampa Bay, but was rocked in just four-plus innings in his second shortest outing of the season.
``I feel like I was throwing strikes for the most part today. But if I got ahead of a guy 0-2 I just couldn't put him away,' Cahill said. ``I didn't have the stuff to have a swing and miss pitch. Then I'd start nibbling and get back to an even count and they'd put it in play.'
While Cahill was scuffling, Beavan won for the first time since his debut July 3 against San Diego. He allowed three straight singles to start the game, but then struck out Josh Willingham and Ryan Sweeney looking before getting Conor Jackson to fly out to left to end the threat.
After the first, Beavan allowed just one hit - a double by Willingham in the third - until the seventh inning when the A's got another run off the young righty. Beavan left with two outs in the seventh after throwing 113 pitches. He was charged with three earned runs, struck out three and walked two.
It was an uncertain few days for Beavan (2-2) when it looked like Seattle might have a six-man rotation or he could be the odd-man out before the Mariners traded Erik Bedard and Doug Fister.
``I didn't really know what was going on. I don't think they did either,' Beavan said. ``It was just hanging tight and letting everything play out.'
Ackley provided the big blow with his three-run triple that capped Seattle's five-run second inning. With one out in the second and two runs already in, Ackley hit a sinking liner to right field. Sweeney charged the line drive but his sliding attempt was well short and he failed to knock the ball down, watching is bounce all the way to the wall. Ackley raced around to third with his fourth triple, clearing the bases to give Seattle a 5-0 lead.
Ackley now has 19 extra-base hits in his first 37 games. It's the second-highest total for any Mariners rookie in their first 50 games. Ackley passed Ken Griffey Jr.'s total of 18 with his triple in the second and a double in the fourth. Alvin Davis had 26 extra-base hits in his first 50 games during the 1984 season when he was the AL rookie of the year.
``That's always fun, it makes you relax more,' Ackley said of the early outburst. ``You don't put as much pressure on yourself, especially doing it early like that is pretty nice.'
NOTES: Mariners 3B Chone Figgins left the game in the bottom of the third inning with a right hip flexor injury. He is day to day and was replaced by Smoak. ... Hideki Matsui recorded the 60,000th hit in A's history on an infield single in the first inning that loaded the bases. ... OF David DeJesus (sore thumb) hit off a tee on Monday and Melvin thought DeJesus could be ready to play by Wednesday's series finale.
The Associated Press News Service
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