Kennedy wins first since August to close out A's season

SEATTLE (AP) -- If this was Ken Macha's last game as Oakland's
manager, Eric Chavez and Joe Kennedy made it a successful one.

Chavez hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and Kennedy
won for the first time since Aug. 27 as the Athletics closed the
season with an 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Macha does not have a contract beyond this season, but has
indicated he would like to return. Oakland's 88 victories were its
fewest since winning 87 games in 1999. The A's were eliminated from
the playoffs after losing to the Angels last Tuesday.

"I don't expect anything. I'm not shocked by anybody leaving,
I'm not shocked by anybody staying," Chavez said. "Negotiations
when you start out with the A's are always terrible. Everybody's
far apart, everybody hates each other, and then at midnight you get
a phone call, and the deal is done. But if this one doesn't get
done I won't be surprised, and if it does I won't be surprised."

Macha said he wasn't thinking about his future on Sunday, and
instead was pleased to see Kennedy break his five-game losing

"I think it's tough pitching the last game of the season. A lot
of people have one foot outside the clubhouse," Macha said. "It
was nice we came back for him and scored some runs."

After getting a major league-record 262 hits last year, Ichiro
Suzuki had one to finish with a career-low 206, but still was
second in the majors. His previous low was 208 in 2002 for Seattle.
Suzuki hit .303 for the season, his lowest average in five seasons
with the Mariners.

"I felt this was the year where he really had to grind it out,
and he did that," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.

Nick Swisher opened the eighth with a single off reliever George
Sherrill (4-3). After a walk to Mark Ellis, Chavez drove an 0-2
pitch off the wall in left-center.

Dan Johnson followed with a two-run single, chasing Sherrill.
Oakland scored five times in the inning on six hits.

Acquired from Colorado in July, Kennedy (4-5) was 0-5 in
September. His previous victory came in a 12-3 win over Baltimore.

Kennedy worked seven innings, scattering five hits, giving up
two earned runs and striking out four. His only rough inning came
in the fourth as Seattle went ahead 3-1.

Raul Ibanez hit his 20th homer, a three-run shot. Suzuki started
the inning by reaching on an error and Yuniesky Betancourt followed
with a single.

Ibanez reached 20 homers for the second time. He hit 24 in 2002
with Kansas City.

Otherwise, Kennedy kept the ball down. He retired 11 of his last
12 batters, allowing only an infield single to Suzuki. Justin
Duchscherer set down the last six for Oakland, as 16 of Seattle's
final 17 batters were retired.

"He's a groundball pitcher, and he kept the ball down and was
successful," Oakland catcher Jason Kendall said about Kennedy.
"It's a good way to go out."

Oakland made it 3-all in the fifth on an RBI double by Matt
Watson and Kendall's two-out RBI single against Felix Hernandez.
Watson finished with three hits and two RBI.

Still, it was another quality start for Hernandez. The
19-year-old rookie ended a stellar campaign by working seven
innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. He struck out five and
walked none.

"Every time I go out against a team, especially the second
time, I try to improve myself," Hernandez said through a
translator. "I look at what I did before and how I can improve

Hernandez beat Oakland 2-0 on Sept. 5. He debuted on Aug. 4 and
made 12 starts, finishing with a 4-4 record and a 2.67 ERA. He
worked into the seventh in all but two starts, and allowed more
than three runs only twice.

"He wasn't as sharp today as he has been in the past," said
Hargrove, who thought Hernandez didn't locate his curveball that
well. "He threw well enough to win."

Game notes
RF Suzuki and DH Ibanez played in all 162 games for Seattle
this year. ... Seattle finished the season tied with Atlanta for
the major league lead in fewest errors with 86. Seattle had 85
entering Sunday, but 3B Adrian Beltre had a throwing error in the
fifth. ... Oakland CF Freddie Bynum had his first major league hit
in the seventh, a single to right, and doubled in the eighth. "I
was so pumped, I didn't even feel my legs," Bynum said.