Zito too much for M's, Oakland takes series finale

The Seattle Mariners failed to give Ryan Franklin run support yet again, as the right-hander dropped his third-consecutive decision to fall below .500 (6-7) on the year. The loss ended the four-game set at Oakland, where the Mariners and Athletics split the series. Seattle remains six games ahead of the division-rival A's.

Every year, it seems that one starting pitcher on the Seattle Mariners' staff fails to get adequate run support.

This year, that dubious honor has gone to Ryan Franklin. Franklin entered Thursday's game sporting a 3.49 ERA, yet was just 6-6 on the campaign.

The pattern continued once Franklin took the field to face Oakland in the series-finale at Network Associates Ballpark, as the Mariners scored just two runs for the right-hander in a 5-2 loss.

Oakland (48-36) moved back to six game behind the Mariners, right where they were when the four-game series started on Monday.

Seattle (54-30) in now 6-8 in their last 14 games.

While the Mariners have had difficulty hitting A's starter Barry Zito in the past, that wasn't the case in this game.

Zito allowed 10 hits for the second game in a row, continuing to struggle, yet managed to keep the Mariners from advancing around the basepaths.

The 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner didn't walk a batter and struck out five to help his cause.

Seattle's only runs came on a solo homerun by Edgar Martinez in the fourth inning, his 17th this season, and a RBI single by Bret Boone in the eighth inning.

Those were the only two runs Zito allowed before leaving after 7.1 innings with a 5-2 lead.

Oakland worked up its lead by putting continual pressure on Franklin (6-7). They knocked him around for 10 hits, and got on the board early.

It started in the first, when Erubial Durazo singled home Scott Hatteburg.

Edgar's homer made it 1-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth inning, but the A's answered with a run on a Terrance Long RBI single to move back in front.

Oakland tacked on two more in the fifth and another in the sixth to move ahead 5-1.

With Zito on the mound, that was all the run support the A's needed.

Corey Bradford and Keith Foulke pitched a perfect 1.2 innings of releif. Foulke, who recorded four of those five outs, recorded his 22nd save of the season.

Zito earned the win to improve to 8-5.

Boone led the Mariners with three hits and a steal, his seventh of the season.

Three Oakland batters - Durazo, Miguel Tejada, and Billy McMillon - had two hits apiece.

Game Notes: 1B John Olerud missed the game, his third straight, with a strained right hamstring. Greg Colbrunn started in his place and went 0-4 with three strikeouts.

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