Series: Game 1 of 4

Seattle leads 1-0 (as of 4/14)

Game 1: Monday, April 14
Game 2: Tuesday, April 15
Game 3: Wednesday, April 16
Game 4: Thursday, April 17
in 10

Athletics 3

(7-6, 2-5 away)

Mariners 4

(7-6, 4-3 home)

    10:05 PM ET, April 14, 2003

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 101001000 3 7 1
    SEA 20000200 - 4 9 0

    W: J. Pineiro (1-1)

    L: M. Mulder (1-1)

    S: K. Sasaki (2)

    Cirillo bashes out of slump, M's win third straight

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Don't be fooled by his batting average. Jeff Cirillo is having a blast this season.

    Jeff Cirillo

    Cirillo hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first of the season, lifting the Seattle Mariners past Mark Mulder and the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Monday night.

    Though he's hitting only .150, Cirillo beamed as he rounded third, pumping a finger in a gesture for his son. He was still smiling as he stepped to the dugout after lining a 355-foot shot that landed just inside the left-field foul pole.

    "I've been having fun all year,'' Cirillo said. "Granted, I haven't been getting a lot of hits but I refuse to go down that road I was on last year. I'm going to enjoy myself, good, bad or indifferent.''

    Last season, the two-time All-Star and career .304 hitter slumped to .249 after joining the Mariners. Known for his intensity and the high expectations he places on himself, he might have worked himself into a trap.

    "Nine years of playing the game, and it's almost been a sigh of relief when I get a hit,'' Cirillo said.

    The A's, meanwhile, have dropped five straight after starting the season 7-1. They did not have a five-game losing streak all of last season.

    Oakland was swept three games by the Anaheim Angels last weekend, when Barry Zito and Tim Hudson lost. Now, Mulder has, too.

    "Out of the three, Mulder pitched good and the other two didn't,'' A's manager Ken Macha said. "If they don't pitch good, we've got problems.''

    Joel Pineiro (1-1) threw seven strong innings, holding Oakland to six hits as the Mariners won their third in a row.

    "I felt good,'' Pineiro said. "I felt aggressive from the beginning. I knew it would be a good start.''

    Arthur Rhodes, back in uniform after a two-game absence for the birth of his son, pitched a scoreless eighth. Kazuhiro Sasaki got three outs for his second save in three tries.

    Seattle's bullpen has allowed just seven runs in 45 innings, winning twice with two saves and posting a 1.40 ERA.

    "We sit out there and watch the ballgame,'' Rhodes said. "I give credit to all our guys. Everybody out there can throw strikes and get guys out. We all pay attention.''

    Cirillo has had it rough early this season. He broke a 1-for-28 slump by going 4-for-4 in a win over Texas on Saturday, then went 0-for-5 in the series finale against the Rangers on Sunday.

    "The other day was a good day,'' he said. "I got the donut off my hat. My attitude has been great. I think if I'd have started off like I did last year, I would have sunk myself by now.''

    Cirillo was 0-for-2 when he connected on a 1-0 pitch against Mulder (1-1), who pitched seven innings and allowed eight hits and four runs.

    "I tried to put it inside,'' Mulder said. "It just didn't move, stayed right over the middle. That's the only mistake I made the whole game.''

    Said Cirillo: "It was good to get a hit in a big situation. I didn't even know where I hit it. I thought it went to left-center.''

    The Athletics led 3-2 in the sixth, squeezing out a run with two infield hits after Pineiro had settled into a rhythm by retiring 12 of the previous 14 batters.

    Chris Singleton hit over Pineiro's head and second baseman Bret Boone couldn't corral the ball. It was ruled a single, and Singleton went to second on Miguel Tejada's fly to deep left. He went to third on a single by Eric Chavez and scored on Jermaine Dye's sacrifice fly to right.

    Game notes

    The crowd of 26,567 was the second-smallest ever at Safeco Field, which opened in July 1999. The smallest was 25,034 against Anaheim on April 19, 2001. ... Oakland hadn't lost five straight since April 8-15, 2001. ... Willie Bloomquist started for the Mariners in left field and Randy Winn moved to center as manager Bob Melvin gave Mike Cameron a day off. ... Ramon Hernandez tied it at 2 for Oakland with a solo homer in the third. Seattle has allowed 19 homers, most in the AL. ... Seattle's Edgar Martinez lost his grip after a big cut in the sixth, sending his bat flying on top of Oakland's dugout.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press