Mulder goes only six innings but holds early lead

SEATTLE (AP) -- Mark Mulder wasn't at his best. He had plenty of
wiggle room, though, before his first pitch.

Eric Chavez hit a three-run homer less than five minutes into
the game and Mulder worked six strong innings, leading the Oakland
Athletics to an 8-2 victory over Seattle on Thursday.

It didn't take long for the A's to get to work and earn a split
of the four-game series. Mark Kotsay led off with a double to the
right-field corner, Eric Byrnes singled to right and Chavez drove a
1-2 pitch from Jamie Moyer over the wall in right.

Boom, boom, boom. Oakland led 3-0 with no outs.

"A lot of big hits," Athletics manager Ken Macha said.

Jermaine Dye added a single to center as Moyer (1-2) gave up
four straight hits to start the day.

"Getting runs early is always nice, no matter the situation,"
Mulder said. "You can go out there and say, 'OK, let's throw
strikes and get some outs.' It didn't work that way. They gave me
some good at-bats, made me throw a lot of pitches. But when you get
runs like that, it helps."

Mulder (2-1) also had a safety net with Oakland's 13-hit attack.
He allowed two runs and five hits, then turned it over to Chris
Hammond in the seventh. It was the first time in four starts that
Mulder didn't go seven innings.

"I started off fine," he said. "I had a couple of innings
where I lost command a little bit, got a little out of whack. We
made a couple of good defensive plays and guys picked me up. We got
through it."

Oakland stretched the lead to 4-0 in the third when Chavez
scored on Erubiel Durazo's RBI single. Ichiro Suzuki fielded and
threw to catcher Dan Wilson, and plate umpire Terry Craft was about
to signal an out when the ball rolled loose.

It was that kind of day for the Mariners, who were booed by the
hometown crowd.

The Mariners gave up a run in the seventh when Randy Winn
bobbled a single to center field by Damian Miller, bringing Eric
Karros in to make it 6-2. Karros had a leadoff double after Winn
lost the ball in the sun.

"Nobody likes to get booed, but it happens," Winn said. "I'm
not playing well right now. I know that. Boos and cheers don't
affect me. I'm just trying to help the ballclub win."

The A's stretched the lead to 8-2 in the eighth. Dye hit an RBI
single and scored when Marco Scutaro grounded to first baseman
Willie Bloomquist, who was charged with a fielding error.

Designated hitter Edgar Martinez asked Seattle fans to hang in

"I know we started very slow but things are improving,"
Martinez said. "We have to see what happens in the next few weeks.
I think it's going to improve. We're going to play much better."

Seattle trimmed the deficit to 4-2 in the fourth. Scott Spiezio
led off with a single, Raul Ibanez also singled and Rich Aurilia

Spiezio scored on Wilson's sacrifice fly and Ibanez crossed the
plate when Jolbert Cabrera hit a slow groundout to second.

That was all the offense Seattle could generate, though, and
Moyer ran into more problems in the fifth.

"I really don't feel I got into any sort of a tempo," Moyer
said. "For what reason, I don't know."

The A's made it 5-2 after Chavez drew a leadoff walk, went to
third on Dye's single and scored on Karros' sacrifice fly. Chavez
scored three times.

The Athletics were a free-swinging club not too long ago, but
Moyer believes they've become more disciplined in the last two or
three years.

Chavez said Oakland hitters just laid off the corners because
Craft wasn't giving Moyer the strike at that location.

"When he doesn't get that pitch, that makes him have to come
over to the middle of the plate," Chavez said. "That's when you
can do some damage."

Moyer went 4 1-3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.
After winning 21 games last year, the fifth pitcher to win at least
20 after age 40, Moyer has a 9.00 ERA in his two losses and a

Game notes
The Mariners have been outscored 18-0 in the first three
innings of the last nine games, but they've rallied to win five
times. ... Martinez doubled in the first and eighth. He's three
doubles from 500 for his career. ... Mulder has 66 career wins,
moving into a tie with Mike Moore for 10th place on Oakland's
all-time list. ... Moyer has won 16 of 38 career games against
Oakland. ... Scutaro was 0-for-4 and reached on an error, ending
his 12-game hitting streak.