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Mariners-Athletics Preview

The Oakland Athletics would not be in last place in the AL West if they had better results against the Seattle Mariners.

Seattle looks to win six in a row in the series for the first time since 2009 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series in Oakland.

The Athletics (36-45) rolled to a 12-0 win in the first matchup this season before the Mariners (36-42) took the next five while scoring 28 times. That's an average of 5.60 runs for Seattle, which is near the bottom of the majors with 3.42 per game.

The lineup got on track this week in a two-game sweep at San Diego, as the Mariners won 5-0 on Tuesday and 7-0 on Wednesday. They haven't posted three straight shutouts in seven years.

Robinson Cano went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs and Nelson Cruz hit a two-run shot for his 20th home run Wednesday for the Mariners, who last won three in a row May 25-27.

''Hopefully it's about the team and not about me getting hot or swinging the bat good, it's about winning,'' said Cano, who came in hitting .238. ''We've got to get going.''

Roenis Elias (4-5, 4.25 ERA) hasn't faced Oakland this year after going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two matchups as a rookie last season. The left-hander has been up and down in splitting his last four starts, posting an 18.00 ERA in the losses and a 2.08 mark in the wins.

Elias allowed seven runs in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-2 home defeat to Kansas City last Wednesday.

''I'm not sure what happened,'' Elias said through an interpreter. ''I felt good. It was just a bad day for me. ... Everything was working well. They just put good swings on them. There's not much you can do there.''

He'll be opposed by Scott Kazmir (4-5, 2.79), who also has not appeared in the season series but enters in much better shape than Elias.

The left-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine straight starts and is 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA in his last seven against division opponents dating to September.

Kazmir gave up three runs in seven innings Saturday in a 3-2 defeat to the Royals, raising his home ERA from 1.27 to 1.63 - still good for second in the AL. He's 3-0 with a 0.31 ERA in four starts in Oakland against the AL West in 2015.

Franklin Gutierrez is 7 for 18 with three homers against Kazmir and Cano also has three homers in the matchup, but he's struck out 13 times and is 9 for 39 (.231).

Cruz is 9 for 20 with two homers during the win streak against the Athletics, while Cano is 4 for 24 in the six meetings this season.

Oakland took two of three from Colorado with a 4-1 win Wednesday, improving to 11-6 in its last 17 games.

"We're not where we want to be through the first 81 games but we're also not as far off as we could've been," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "... We've won a lot of series in the last month, the last few weeks. We're excited about the way we're playing baseball right now."

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