OAKLAND–Freddy Garcia’s patience is being tested this season.
“Every time I’ve been pitching it’s been a tight game,” he said. “I have to keep the game close and wait for us to score some runs.”
Garcia kept it close Monday night, winning his third straight start as the Seattle Mariners held off the Oakland Athletics 4-1.
Garcia (7-4) did not allow a run until the eighth inning, when John Mabry hit a solo home run with one out. The last five runs that Garcia has allowed have been solo homers.
It was the first Oakland homer for Mabry, who came to the A’s on May 22 in the trade that sent Jeremy Giambi to Philadelphia.
Garcia allowed the one run on five hits over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out five.
“He’s just really good,” teammate Jeff Cirillo said. “When the weather warms up so will Freddy. I don’t think he’s pitched his best baseball.”
Kazuhiro Sasaki pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
The loss, in the first game of a four-game set between the AL West rivals, snapped the resurgent A’s three-game winning streak.
A’s rookie right-hander Aaron Harang (1-1) wasn’t as sharp as he was in his major league debut May 25, when he combined with reliever Chad Bradford on a three-hit shutout against Tampa Bay.
Harang allowed three runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out five.
“I wish things had turned out the other way around,” Harang said. “Garcia was just on tonight. You can’t do anything about that.”
With the game scoreless in the fifth, the Mariners loaded the bases with no outs. Cirillo hit a sacrifice fly, the first run allowed by Harang, and Mark McLemore added an RBI single to make it 2-0.
The 11 scoreless innings to start his career surpassed the Oakland record of 10, set by John Henry Johnson when he started out in 1978.
“He pitched well enough to win on a lot of occasions, but not tonight,” A’s manager Art Howe said. “He ran up against a tough customer.”
Ruben Sierra’s grounder in the sixth scored John Olerud, who doubled and went to third on a passed ball. Mike Cameron added an RBI double in the seventh.
Miguel Tejada’s single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the seventh.
Notes: The last 12 homers that Garcia has allowed have been solo shots. ... Last year the Mariners took the season series against the Athletics 10-9, but Oakland was the only team to beat Seattle more than five times.