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A's Inch Closer To Mariners

After the worst start of his career, Tim Hudson had a lot to prove to himself and his Oakland Athletics teammates.

"You could see the fire in his eyes," teammate Matt Stairs said. "He pretty much got killed in his last outing."

"He's been unbelievable the whole year," Oakland first baseman Jason Giambi added after Hudson allowed one run in 7 1-3 innings to lead the Athletics past the Seattle Mariners 6-1 Wednesday. "What he does out there is pretty special."

Hudson (11-3), who allowed nine runs and 12 hits in a 12-3 loss to Anaheim last Friday, gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the first inning, then settled down.

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  • He wound up allowing seven hits, striking out five and walking four. Hudson has won 10 of his last 11 decisions, improving his career record to 22-5.

    "I love pitching in games like this," Hudson said. "I don't know if I expected to be this successful today, but I wanted to have different results than my last time."

    Said manager Art Howe: "It's unusual when he has a bad day. He spoils us. He's got great stuff and a big heart. When he's down in the zone like he was today, he was tough."

    Ramon Hernandez had a two-run homer and a run-scoring grounder off Paul Abbott (6-4) as Oakland closed within three games of first-place Seattle in the AL West.

    Giambi added a two-run homer in the eighth of Brett Tomko, his 26th, as the A's improved to 6-3 against Seattle this season. Giambi has homered in two straight games and three of four.

    "It was a good game for us," Hernandez said. "They've been playing pretty good at home. We didn't want to let them get too far ahead of us."

    Said Giambi: "We came in here and played some good baseball. But we've got to keep playing well or these games mean nothing."

    Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a double in his second game for Seattle since coming off the disabled list.

    "I feel better," said Rodriguez, who was on the DL because of a sprained right knee. "But it's going to take a little while, maybe a week, to get back to where I know I can play."

    John Olerud's sacrifice fly put Seattle ahead in the first, but Hernandez gave Oakland a 2-1 lead in the third with his 11th homer. The A's made it 4-1 in the fifth on Hernandez's RBI groundout and Terrence Long's run-scoring single.

    Abbott gave up four runs and four hits in seven innings with three walks all to Jeremy Giambi, who scored after his first two walks.

    "I don't know," Abbott said when asked about walking Jeremy Giambi three times. "If I did know, maybe I would have thrown him more strikes."

    Notes

  • The Mariners lost only their second series in their last 16, dropping two of three to the A's. They lost two of three at San Diego from July 13-15.
  • Seattle veteran backup C Joe Oliver had his second stolen base of the season and 13th of his career.
  • Hudson improved his career record to 3-0 against the Mariners, including 2-0 this season.
  • Long has hit safely in 10 straight games.
  • Despite losing two of three to Oakland, Seattle still has the best home record in the majors. The Mariners are 33-16 at Safeco Field.
  • The A's, who rank next to last to the Chicago White Sox in defense with 92 errors, went errorless for the sixth consecutive game.
  • Seattle manager Lou Piniella was not available to talk after the game.

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