A big reason for the Oakland Athletics' month-long success has been their exceptional play at home.
Coming off a marathon victory, the A's look to extend their home winning streak to 12 games Friday night against the Seattle Mariners.Nate Freiman singled home the winning run off Mariano Rivera in the 18th inning to help Oakland (41-27) complete a three-game home sweep of the Yankees with a 3-2 victory Thursday."It was very taxing even winning the game. To lose could have been demoralizing," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "These are awful games to lose."The A's have won 21 of 26 to surpass Texas atop the AL West. They are 21-10 at home, and their 11-game winning streak at the Coliseum is the longest since posting 12 straight Aug. 13-Sept. 14, 2002.Perhaps the only thing that's cast a shadow over Oakland's surge is the status of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has missed the last two games with hamstring tightness.Freiman, however, is hitting .381 (8 for 21) in his last seven home games.Making his first home start since May 18, Oakland's Tommy Milone (6-5. 3.69 ERA) is 3-0 with a 3.66 ERA in his last five starts. He gave up a solo homer and three other hits in seven innings of a 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.Milone is 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA at home, and 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA against the Mariners (29-38) in 2013. That victory came April 3 when the left-hander allowed two solo home runs and two other hits in seven innings of a 6-2 victory.Scheduled Seattle starter Joe Saunders (4-6, 5.12) gave up four runs and walked four in four innings in that contest to fall to 6-3 with a 3.14 ERA at Oakland.The left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA against the A's this season, and heads into the opener 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six road starts compared to 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA in seven at home. He's received an average 4.47 runs of support at home and 1.74 away from Safeco Field.Saunders, however, is 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA in his last three outings overall. That included May 29 at San Diego, when he gave up a run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning loss.He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-1 home loss to the Yankees on Saturday."He's starting to kind of lock it in and get into a groove," manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners' official website. "He has a much better feel for himself now in regard to what he wants to do. He's been pitching for a while, and you're seeing what we'd hoped we'd see."Seattle is 4-3 against the A's in 2013 and split a season-opening four-game set at Oakland, but has lost two straight and nine of 11 on road the overall.The Mariners concluded a 5-5 homestand with a 6-1 loss to Houston on Wednesday, giving up all six runs in the ninth.Seattle hopes first baseman Kendrys Morales and outfielder Michael Morse can play through some nagging injuries and be in the lineup Friday.Morales is batting .394 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last eight road games, but missed the last two contests with lower-back stiffness.Morse is hitting .333 (9 for 27) with four home runs and seven RBIs against the A's this season but is dealing with a quad injury.
While people have come around on the idea the Athletics are good and not a fluke, it's worth noting just how much better they've been than their AL competition over the last calendar year. Since June 14, 2012, the Athletics have TWELVE MORE WINS than the next-closest team.