Mariners Own Loaiza

When A's manager Ken Macha looked at the career numbers for the Mariners' hitters against A's starter Esteban Loaiza, he knew Loaiza wouldn't have a large margin for error.

Coming into Thursday's game, Carl Everett was 6-for-11 with a home run and six RBIs, Raul Ibanez was 8-for-19 with four RBIs, and Ichiro Suzuki was 7-for-19 with three extra-base hits.

Sure enough, those were the hitters who did the most damage. Everett hit a two-run homer in the second inning. Ibanez tripled and score in the third, then doubled and scored in the fifth inning.

Loaiza, in his A's debut, gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. His biggest problems were his cutter wasn't cutting like normal, and a lack of first-pitch strikes: just seven of 25. His velocity also appeared to be down to 82-84, as opposed to 87-89.

"In my career, if I get strikes early in the count, I get outs," Loaiza said. "If I don't, I start giving up hits. Nothing was working for me today."

In Loaiza's fifth and final inning, Macha made a rare trip to the mound in which he didn't remove the pitcher. Loaiza agreed to intentionally walk Everett with first base open and two outs.

The decision backfired. Kenji Johjima, the Mariners' new catcher, singled home a run on Loaiza's next pitch. That extended Seattle's lead to 5-1 and was the end of Loaiza's Oakland debut.

"I have to get the one out of the way," Loaiza said. "I still have 36 more starts, (including) the playoffs.

REPLAY: The A's lineup didn't look as imposing with designated hitter Frank Thomas getting his first day off, and shortstop Bobby Crosby still out with a lacerated left index finger. The lack of pop contributed to a 6-2 loss at Seattle on Thursday.

The A's managed just two runs and five hits against Seattle's Gil Meche (5 2/3 innings), Jake Woods and J.J. Putz.

Marco Scutaro tripled to start the game and scored on a groundout. Eric Chavez hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. The A's had Meche's pitch count way up early, but were unable to take advantage, as they left runners in scoring position frequently in the early innings.

Thursday's Notebook

--SS Bobby Crosby's badly cut left index finger is getting better. He took some swings in the cage with the finger off the bat and fielded a few grounders in batting practice. Crosby was spiked on Opening Night, and the original diagnosis of a week on the bench remains.

--3B Eric Chavez is off to a good four-game start, going 5-for-14 with three walks, two home runs and a handful of hard-hit outs. He is 5 for his last 11 with two homers after an 0-4 Opening Day.

--OF Jay Payton was the A's designated hitter Thursday with Frank Thomas getting his first day off. Manager Ken Macha felt the veteran Payton was better equipped to sitting between innings than sophomore Nick Swisher, who would burn off tons of energy sitting on the bench every inning. Payton called himself "the Mini Hurt."

--LHP Brad Halsey only made the A's Opening Day roster because of the fear of rainouts, but he's been needed twice in relief in four games. He gave up a run on two hits Thursday night.

--RHP Jay Witasick was nearly beheaded by an Ichiro line-drive up the middle. Witasick was able to spear before it hit him in the head and turned it into a double-play. Witasick has been hit hard in both appearance this year and throughout the spring.

--Third base coach Ron Washington was back hitting fungoes and throwing batting practice less than a week after having surgery on his right hand.

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