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Athletics' Blanton evens record at 12 in defeat of Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) -- The pitching-rich Oakland Athletics gave the
Seattle Mariners a look at their future when they put rookies Joe
Blanton, Rich Harden and Huston Street on display on Saturday.

Jason Kendall hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning to
back Blanton and lead the A's over the Mariners 4-3.

The 24-year-old Blanton got his 12th victory of the season,
tying the A's rookie record set by Chris Codiroli in 1983 and
setting a team record for a rookie pitcher with his 33rd start, one
more than Matt Keough in 1978.

Blanton pitched 201 1-3 innings this year.

"That was the only goal I set for myself all year," he said.
"I just wanted to make all my starts."

Trailing 2-1, Oakland came back in the seventh after Julio Mateo
(3-6) relieved George Sherrill with two outs and none on.

Marco Scutaro doubled and scored on a single by Mark Ellis, who
took second on the throw, and Kendall doubled for a 3-2 lead.
Scutaro added an RBI single in the ninth against Gil Meche.

Blanton (12-12) won for the fourth time in five decisions,
giving up two runs and six hits in six innings. Harden, who hasn't
started since Aug. 19 because of a strained muscle below his
throwing shoulder, struck out five in two innings, and Street
finished for his 23rd save in 27 chances, allowing Yuniesky
Betancourt's sacrifice fly.

With runners on second and third, Street struck Raul Ibanez to
end the game.

"It was a big win for Joe," said Harden, who made his third
relief appearance. "I definitely wanted to shut 'em down for Joe.
He's been amazing this season. He's been a big part of this team."

Street recorded his 18th consecutive save, tying the longest
streak for an A's reliever since Dennis Eckersley in 1995. But he
got himself in trouble with a pair of walks in the ninth.

"He's been phenomenal for us," Kendall said.

Mark Kotsay's RBI double put Oakland ahead in the first, but the
Mariners came back in the third to go ahead 2-1 on Betancourt's
two-run homer. which followed a single by Ichiro Suzuki.

"I left it over the middle," Blanton said. "It wasn't a very
good pitch."

Suzuki, who reached 200 hits for the fifth straight season on
Friday night, went 3-for-4, all singles.

Seattle's Jeff Harris, a 31-year-old rookie, allowed one run and
two hits in 5 1-3 innings. Sherrill struck out Dan Johnson with the
bases loaded to end the sixth.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove refused to criticize his
relievers.

"The bullpen's been awfully good for us this year," he said.

Game notes
Seattle's Richie Sexson struck out twice, giving him an
AL-leading 165. ... The A's are 11-6 against the Mariners this
season. ... Betancourt, a stellar defensive shortstop, committed
his fifth error in 59 games this yea. ... The game started with
Safeco Field's retractable roof open, but it was closed when it
started raining in the sixth. ... Suzuki turned in a defensive gem
in the fourth when he made a sliding catch of Eric Chavez's sinking
liner to right.