Street, Chavez Key If A's Are To Make A Run

If the Oakland A's are to continue to remain a factor in the American League West race, third baseman Eric Chavez and closer Huston Street will be two big pieces to the puzzle.

The return of both Thursday made a 6-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners even sweeter. Eric Chavez started at third base for the first time since Sunday, as his sore lower back was feeling better. Chavez is in the middle of an injury plagued and disappointing season, especially at the plate.

"I'll talk to him every day, I'll stay in constant communication," manager Bob Geren said.

"He's the best third baseman in the game. At the plate, when he gets going, he can carry a team also."

Huston Street, who came off the disabled list Monday after being sidelined since May 12, had some soreness in his right elbow and was held out Tuesday and Wednesday. He was feeling better Thursday and pitched the ninth inning to close out the win over Seattle.

Geren had interim closer Alan Embree warming up, and he said before the game he was reluctant to use Street in the ninth inning so soon after his return. But with a four-run lead, he sent Street out there.

"It was nice to get Huston Street in the game," Geren said. "He looked good the first time (he pitched Monday), and he looked even sharper this time out."

A'S 6, MARINERS 2: Nick Swisher homered from each side of the plate and had four RBIs to pace Oakland to a victory at Safeco Field. The A's are now 3-1 on this seven-game road trip, and they sent the Mariners to their seventh consecutive defeat.

Weekend Notebook

--RHP Huston Street, after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday with mild soreness in his right elbow, pitched the ninth inning in Thursday's 6-2 victory over Seattle. He may be ready to reclaim the closer's job. LHP Alan Embree has converted 11 of 13 save opportunities since Street went on the disabled list with an irritated ulnar nerve in his right elbow May 12. Street allowed just Jose Lopez's double in a scoreless inning.

--RHP Rich Harden, who had been rehabbing his strained right shoulder at home in British Columbia, has joined his teammates for this weekend's series in Seattle. Harden is set to go to the team's minor league complex in Phoenix on Monday, where he will continue to rehab and start throwing. There's no timetable for his return yet.

--OF Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the fourth time in his career and had four RBIs. The switch hitter hadn't homered since July 5 and said a key was he wasn't swinging for the fences Thursday. "It just goes to show, if you don't try to, you do," he said.

--RHP Dan Haren pitched seven strong innings Thursday against Seattle to record his 12th win of the season. It was the first time in six starts that Haren lasted seven innings, but he won his second consecutive decision.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- The number of games the A's went scoring three runs or fewer before snapping the streak last week. It set an Oakland record for most consecutive games with no more than three runs.

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