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Oakland Athletics Team Report - April 17th

From The Sports Network

(Sports Network) - A fight for the top spot in the American League West ensues tonight as the Oakland A's close out a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Both teams enter the contest with a record of 8-7, which places them in a three-way tie in the division with the defending World Series Champion Anaheim Angels.

On Wednesday the Athletics put an end to a six-game slide with a 4-1 victory on the road, the ninth of 10 straight games being played away from Network Coliseum.

Eric Chavez and Erubiel Durazo both hit two-run homers to account for all the scoring in Oakland's three-run victory yesterday.

Tim Hudson earned the win for Oakland as he threw eight innings and allowed just one run on five hits while striking out seven. The righthander did not permit a walk.

Keith Foulke came in for the final inning and closed the door for his fourth save of the young season.

Chavez, who now has three consecutive multi-hit games, helped the A's from having their longest losing streak since April of 2001.

John Halama will face his former team for the first time this afternoon when he takes the hill for the A's.

Halama spent a good portion of his final season in Seattle as a middle reliever, while making spot starts. During his four seasons with the Mariners, he posted a 41-31 record in 130 outings.

Halama has split his first two starts of the season, including a loss to Anaheim. The lefthander allowed five hits and six runs --- three earned --- over five innings against the Angels. Halama walked and struck out two in the losing effort.

Oakland hitters are batting a combined .250 heading into this contest, but they are leading the league in walks with 68 after 15 games.

Miguel Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, is hitting a mere .175 and has nearly as many strikeouts (nine) as he does hits (11) at this point. He scored a run yesterday without a hit in four at-bats and is just 2-for-27 over the last seven contests.

Following this contest the A's return to Oakland where they will host Texas, Detroit, and Cleveland (boasting a combined record of 12-30 entering Thursday) for a nine-game homestand.

04/17 13:24:29 ET

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