SEATTLE (AP) - Brandon McCarthy is tied for second in the American League with five complete games. Problem is, he only has two wins in those games.
McCarthy went the distance again Monday night, but the Oakland Athletics lost 4-2 to Justin Smoak and the Seattle Mariners.
The difference was Smoak's three-run homer on a fastball in the sixth inning.
``I thought my pitch selection was fine. I just didn't throw it where I wanted to and (Smoak) did what he's supposed to,' McCarthy said. ``It was supposed to be a cutter in and I kind of left it middle down, right where a lefty likes to drop his barrel into it and he didn't miss it.'
McCarthy (9-9) allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked none in eight innings. The right-hander finished the year with a 3.32 ERA.
McCarthy had three complete games and a 1.99 ERA in four starts against Seattle this season, but only a 1-3 record.
``He had a great season,' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ``For a guy who had some injuries the year before and to give us the complete games and the consistent games basically every time out.'
The game was tied when Dustin Ackley drilled a two-out single to center off McCarthy in the sixth. Mike Carp dropped a single into left-center, sending Ackley to third. Smoak then connected on a 1-0 fastball, hitting a drive to right for his 15th homer.
``This is a guy we believe in,' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Smoak, who was acquired from Texas last season in the Cliff Lee deal. ``I feel like he's going to have a real good year for us next year. I know he's going to work hard this winter to shore himself up to stay away from those injuries and be stronger.
``You saw what his capability is tonight. Those three-run homers are big separators for a ballclub. He's capable of doing that.'
Smoak is hitting .318 with four home runs and 14 RBI since coming off the DL on Sept. 2.
Jason Vargas (10-13) earned his career-high 10th victory. He struck out a career-high 10 in eight innings, allowing one run and five hits.
``I thought early on we had some better swings but (Vargas) got better as the night went along,' Melvin said.
The A's got to Vargas in the first. Jemile Weeks led off the game with a double into the left-field corner. Coco Crisp moved him to third with a groundout, and Hideki Matsui followed with a flare single to left.
The base hit snapped Matsui's 13-game streak without an RBI, the longest stretch of his career.
No A's player reached second against Vargas after the first inning. At one point, he retired 14 straight batters.
``We got to him a little bit but tonight he was using more of his fastball,' Kurt Suzuki said. ``He throws a back-door cutter, curves and changeups. Tonight, he had a good live fastball and he threw it out of the middle of the plate and we weren't able to get anything going against him. He pitched a great game.'
Vargas, who was 1-8 in 11 starts over a two-month stretch, is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA over his last four starts.
The A's scored a run in the ninth off Brandon League. Josh Willingham drove in Crisp with a groundout.
Crisp had opened the inning with a single and stole second and third to give him 48 steals. He's now tied for the league steals lead with New York's Brett Gardner.
``He knows in those situations he has got to make it, with us being down,' Melvin said of Crisp's baserunning. ``But it's his game and it's part of our game. When he is on base we have to push it a little bit.
``He is one of the best in the league at doing it. He has a green light and never really abuses it. He pushed it for us at the top of the lineup and creates a lot of havoc.'
NOTES: Oakland's Adam Rosales had a two-out single in the eighth, ending an 0-for-34 slide. His last hit was June 30, a span of 15 games. ... Matsui is batting .328 against the Mariners this season. He is a career .311 hitter against Seattle.
The Associated Press News Service
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