M's Battle Injuries, A's

The good news for the Mariners is that catcher Kenji Johjima and first baseman Richie Sexson returned to the lineup Thursday. The bad news is that neither one is completely healthy. The worse news is that they aren't alone.

So Seattle, which won 18 games in June, more than any team in the majors, is 2-3 in July and hasn't scored more than four runs in a game yet.

The Mariners look very much like a team that needs the full three days off at the All-Star break. If little nagging injuries among the hitters could heal, things would be looking up, because the starters have given the club decent performances in all but one July start.

In addition to Sexson (left thumb) and Johjima (right hand), Raul Ibanez (hamstring) isn't quite up to speed.

ATHLETICS 3, MARINERS 2: Right-hander Miguel Batista, who'd allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his previous three starts, gave up just three runs Thursday, but that was enough to cost him the win at Oakland.

Batista gave up a pair of solo homers in the sixth inning, to Nick Swisher and Bobby Crosby. That erased a 2-1 lead and did the Mariners in.


--1B Richie Sexson returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a sore left thumb. He played the entire game, but he was slowed after taking a hard foul ball off his left foot early in the game.

--C Kenji Johjima returned to the lineup Thursday but had a tough day, not all of which was due to his being hit on the right hand Tuesday. He grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the first inning, then popped out trying to bunt in the fourth with men on first and second.

--RF Jose Guillen had three hits, including a double, Thursday against Oakland, driving in one run and scoring one. He is 11-for-20 in his last five games. Over his last nine games he has 10 RBIs to give him 50 for the season, tops on the team.

--CF Ichiro Suzuki's first-inning single made him just the 10th player since 1900 to have hits in 53 of 56 games.

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