Saunders 9-0 at Safeco, leads M's over A's 6-1

(AP) Saunders 9-0 at Safeco, leads M's over A's 6-1
By DAIMON EKLUND
Associated Press
SEATTLE
Joe Saunders won his ninth straight decision at Safeco Field and Kendrys Morales hit a three-run homer, leading the Seattle Mariners over the Oakland Athletics 6-1 Sunday.

Saunders (3-4) allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings with six strikeouts and three walks. He is 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA in four home starts this year, improving to 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 13 career appearances at Safeco. He is 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road this season.

Jason Bay also homered for Seattle, which has won three of its last four games and six of nine.

Tommy Milone (3-5) lost for the fifth straight start, giving up five runs, six hits and three walks in five innings. This was the first time during the skid he failed to pitch into the seventh inning, and he has a 3.62 ERA over that span.

Defending AL West champion Oakland (18-19) has lost six of seven and on Friday dropped below .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season. The A's start a series Monday at division-leading Texas.

Morales hit his fourth home run of the season in the first, a drive into the visitors' bullpen in left field that followed Michael Saunders' leadoff single and Kyle Seager's one-out walk. Milone walked two in the first _ more than he had allowed in all but one of his seven previous starts this season.

Josh Donaldson and Luke Montz hit consecutive doubles in the second, and the A's had runners at the corners with no outs when Nate Freiman grounded to shortstop Brendan Ryan, who threw out Montz at the plate. Saunders retired the next two batters.

Seattle stretched its lead on Jesus Montero's run-scoring single in the fourth and Seager's sacrifice fly in the fifth. Bay added his fourth home run in the seventh inning, a drive to center off Jerry Blevins.

NOTES: Oakland manager Bob Melvin said OF Coco Crisp, on the DL with a strained left hamstring, may run the bases Monday. If it goes well, a Wednesday return for Crisp is "not out of the question," Melvin said. ... Mariners manager Eric Wedge batted Seager third and moved Morales and Michael Morse both down a spot in the lineup, to Nos. 4 and 5. Wedge said the moves were designed to take some pressure off Morales and Morse. "I've seen them both chasing more than they should be chasing," Wedge said.

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