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West rivals Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics clash

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Seattle Mariners catcher David Freitas throws out Los Angeles Angels' batter Andrelton Simmons in the second inning on May 4 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash. Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange

Two American League West rivals riding winning streaks open a three-game series Tuesday night when the Seattle Mariners visit the Oakland Athletics.

The clubs have met six times already this season, all in Seattle, with the Mariners capturing each three-game series 2-1.

The Mariners are coming off a 4-2 homestand that featured bookend walk-off wins on Tuesday and Sunday, both in 11 innings.

Jean Segura ended Sunday's game -- the Mariners' third consecutive win -- with a single in the 11th, but Mitch Haniger came through twice earlier with big hits, including one that ended Francisco Liriano's no-hit bid in the seventh inning.

Haniger then homered in the ninth to rally the Mariners from behind and force extra innings, setting the stage for Segura.

"The heart that this club has is pretty, pretty impressive," Seattle manager Scott Servais gushed afterward. "These guys, they just keep battling through adversity, one thing after another. We've had some injuries, we've got some guys out, guys hobbling around out there. ... It really says a lot about this team. These guys really, really enjoy playing with each other and they feed off of each other, which is a great thing to see."

The Mariners played Sunday without slugger Nelson Cruz, out with a sore foot. He is expected back for the Oakland series.

A San Francisco Bay Area product, Haniger often has been at his best in front of family and friends in Oakland. In seven career games in Oakland, he's hit .321, with two doubles, a triple and two home runs in just 28 at-bats.

He has never faced right-hander Trevor Cahill, the A's scheduled starter in the series opener.

Cahill (1-2, 2.79) has gone 5-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mariners.

He'll be opposed by Mariners veteran right-hander Mike Leake, who 12 years ago was an A's draft pick out of high school. The right-hander opted for college at Arizona State, after which he was picked in the first round by the Cincinnati Reds.

Leake (4-3, 6.00) faced the A's earlier this season, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. He did not get a decision in a 7-4 home win.

He's never won at Oakland in his career, going 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts. Overall, he's 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts against Oakland.

Leake served up home runs to Khris Davis and Matt Chapman in the earlier meeting this season.

It's likely he'll miss Davis this time around, as might all Mariners pitchers in the series, after the A's chief power source strained a groin running out a grounder in Sunday's 9-2 win at Toronto.

"He didn't feel a pop, which is encouraging," A's manager Bob Melvin reported afterward. "But typically, those things aren't one or two days."

Melvin went on to add Monday that a trip to the disabled list is likely. A decision will be made before Tuesday's game.

The A's went on to complete their four-game sweep of Toronto despite losing Davis, capping an impressive 7-3 trip that started off against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Oakland will take its four-game winning streak into a 10-game homestand that includes visits by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays.

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Sports - U.S. Daily News: West rivals Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics clash
West rivals Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics clash
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