SEATTLE -- If this is the final week of Mike Sweeney's big league career, he's going out with a flourish.
Sweeney, the 13-year veteran finishing off a one-year free agent contract with Seattle, followed a two-out error with a tiebreaking two-run single in the fifth inning, leading the Mariners to a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.Over his last 23 games, Sweeney is hitting .386 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. He raised his average from .228 to .282."I'm not real familiar with the dates and how free agency works, I'm just soaking up every minute of these last four days," said Sweeney, who turned 36 in July. "This is the most fun I've ever had in the big leagues. It's an amazing clubhouse, playing for a great skipper [Don Wakamatsu]. I pray I can come back. We'll see how the cards unfold."On the other end of the major league spectrum is Mariners rookie starter Doug Fister (3-4), who's trying to impress management enough to consider him for the rotation next season. He went seven innings, allowing five hits and a run for his first win since Sept. 1."Already Fister has pitched some great games, against Anaheim, against the Yankees and now against Oakland," Wakamatsu said. "It's an awfully good feeling that we'll take into the winter. He went seven innings, pretty efficient."Fister, who was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 8, said for him it comes down to "setting goals and trying to reach them. I'm trying to get better every day."His next goal is "to make [the team] coming out of spring training and just staying here."David Aardsma gave up a solo home run to Jack Cust in the ninth, his 25th, but finished for his 37th save in 41 opportunities. He tied Kazuhiro Sasaki for third on the club's single-season saves list.Adrian Beltre hit his eighth home run -- the 250th of his career -- on Brett Anderson's first pitch of the second. It carried 428 feet into the center-field seats. In each of his past seven seasons, Beltre did not hit fewer than 19 home runs, but he missed 51 games this season with injuries.Anderson (11-11) had not lost since Aug. 30. He was 4-0 in September with a 2.28 ERA and was 8-3 with a 3.02 ERA over his previous 16 starts."He was great," A's manager Bob Geren said of Anderson. "He had an excellent breaking ball tonight, one of his best of the year, really. We made a little mistake in the field right there and they capitalized on it -- big time."That mistake was made by third baseman Adam Kennedy and it contributed to the Mariners winning three-run rally in the fifth.With the score tied at 1, Adam Moore opened with a single and stole second, his first big league steal. Franklin Gutierrez walked with two outs then Jose Lopez hit a high hopper that Kennedy took off his chest. He scrambled to retrieve it but not before Moore slid safely into third.Sweeney then stroked a two-run single to right-center. Beltre added another run with a single to left, scoring Lopez from second but Sweeney was thrown out trying to take third."That's just bad on my part. You can't ever assume the inning is over," Anderson said. "I made some bad pitches, some fastballs out and over the plate and gave up some hits."Kurt Suzuki opened the fourth with his second career triple off the left-field scoreboard. Bill Hall tried to reach it on a jump but it hit above him and bounced 30 yards in front of him and Suzuki easily reached third.With one out, Daric Barton knocked in Suzuki with a RBI double into the right-field corner, tying the score 1-all.Fister then retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced."He mixes his speeds up and some of the best stuff to go along with it," said catcher Adam Moore, who has been Fister's teammate since A-ball. "Whatever you called, he was just dotting it."By catching him the last three years, he has been consistent all the time, Moore said. "They always talk about his [lack of] velocity but if he can spot it up the way he does and mix in his speeds he does so well, velocity will never get him in trouble."The Mariners finished with a 14-5 record over the A's this season, winning the past seven games at Safeco Field and sweeping them in three series.
Kenji Johjima, hit on the left elbow in the first inning Wednesday, has a bruise and will miss at least two games. Manager Don Wakamatsu hopes to get him back in a game Saturday. ... It was the 30th start for Anderson, who turns 22 on Feb. 1. He and teammate Trevor Cahill, also 21, who has made 32 starts, are just the fourth pair of teammates since 1900 to have at least 30 starts at age 21 or younger.