- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - Kenji Johjima had a two-run single in a four-run eighth inning and the Seattle Mariners rallied twice from deficits to beat the Oakland Athletics 8-5 on Saturday.

Russell Branyan homered and Franklin Gutierrez and Jose Lopez each drove in two runs for the Mariners, who won their third straight. Mike Sweeney added an RBI single in the ninth.

Seattle’s eighth-inning rally began when Bobby Crosby, making his debut at third base, mishandled Sweeney’s grounder leading off. Adrian Beltre singled and Casilla walked Branyan to load the bases.

A’s closer Brad Ziegler took over and gave up Lopez’s two-run double and Johjima’s two-run single.

Miguel Batista (1-0) pitched two innings in relief of Felix Hernandez. Brandon Morrow recorded three outs for his second save.

Jack Cust hit a two-run home run and Landon Powell got his first major league hit, a two-run double for the A’s, who lost their second straight.

Santiago Casilla (0-1) allowed three runs _ two earned _ in one-plus innings.

Hernandez had his worst start against the A’s and allowed more than one run for the first time in one of his first two starts of a season. He gave up seven hits and five runs in five innings, walking two and striking out eight. Hernandez has beaten the A’s in six of his previous eight starts.

A’s starter Josh Outman lasted 4 1-3 innings, yielding three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three.

The A’s scored three times in the second. Cust and Mark Ellis walked around Travis Buck’s strikeout and Powell doubled in two runs. Ryan Sweeney singled and Orlando Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly.

Branyan hit a towering shot into the right-field bleachers with one out in the fourth for his second home run and the Mariners added two more runs in the fifth on Gutierrez’s two-run single to tie it 3-all.

Cust put the A’s ahead with his two-run shot to left in the bottom half.

Endy Chavez singled in the ninth and became the first Mariners player to hit safely in the first six games since Ichiro Suzuki opened the 2005 season with a seven-game streak.

Notes: @Hernandez is third among active pitchers for strikeouts at age 23 and younger. He had 599 before turning 23 on Wednesday and now has 607. Only Jeremy Bonderman (623) and Scott Kazmir (617) had more. … Mariners’ OF Ichiro Suzuki missed his final rehab game because of inclement weather. … Mariners OF Vladimir Balentien left the game with a sprained left wrist. … Cabrera was 1-for-2 against Hernandez and is 16-for-32 (.500) lifetime, the best of any hitter with significant at-bats against the right-hander. … The A’s featured an all-shortstop infield the final two innings, with Crosby at third, Cabrera at short, Ellis at second (he came up with the Kansas City Royals as a shortstop) and Nomar Garciaparra at first.

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