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Bloomquist delivers, keeps A's magic number at two

Sep 26, 2006 - 6:01 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- The Oakland Athletics soon may be looking over their shoulders.

The Athletics squandered a three-run lead in the ninth inning and Kiko Calero surrendered a game-winning single in the following frame en route to a 10-9 loss to the Seattle Mariners, who snapped a 15-game losing streak to their division rivals.

Oakland (90-66) entered Monday with a chance to clinch the American League West title for a third straight day. It could have wrapped up the crown with a win Saturday or Sunday over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but lost both contests.

"Let me tell you something," A's manager Ken Macha said. "Everybody who says this thing is over, they are absolutely incorrect. I've got people from our organization coming up here and celebrating. They're wrong. We've got to go out there and win these games. Nobody's going to help us."

Anaheim beat Texas, 8-3, earlier Monday to keep its faint pulse alive, but Oakland still was on the brink of clinching a tie for the division crown - until the ninth.

"It's more about us winning games and us finishing good than it is about keeping Oakland from clinching here," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "Everybody contributed to that win tonight. To come back on a team like Oakland when you're down six runs in the fifth. That's a terrific effort."

A's closer Huston Street blew his 10th save of the season by allowing three runs in the frame. Raul Ibanez singled home Adrian Beltre, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff double. Jose Lopez delivered a sacrifice fly and Greg Dobbs delivered a two-out run-scoring single to tie the game at 9-9.

"I felt fine going out there," Street said. "I had two days rest. It was pretty much a perfect situation. I just made some bad pitches. That's the bottom line. I left the ball up and out over the plate and they did their job."

Ichiro Suzuki led off the 10th inning with his fifth hit of the game, his fifth five-hit game of his career, and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Calero (3-2). After the righthander got the next two batters and intentionally walked Ibanez, Bloomquist lined a 2-2 pitch into left-center field, easily plating Ichiro with the winning run.

"He was throwing me a steady diet of sliders and he had me kind of looking foolish early in the at-bat," said Bloomquist, a late-game replacement for Sexson at first base. "I was just trying to see a pitch well and hopefully get something to fall in and he left one up in the zone and I was able to do that."

Righthander Esteban Loaiza, who entered with game with a lifetime 7.18 ERA against the Mariners, started for the A's, but lasted just five innings, giving up nine hits and five runs. It was Loaiza who lost the A's first game against the Mariners on April 6.

"It's no secret, we've been abused by them," Ibanez said. "It was definitely a great feeling to win that game. Nobody wants to get beaten that many times."

J.J. Putz (4-1) struck out four over two perfect frames to pick up the win for Seattle, which rapped a season-high 21 hits, including four apiece by Richie Sexson and Ibanez.

If Oakland can not clinch within the next two days, it will be forced to do so in a season-ending four-game series in Anaheim.

"The Angels are playing extremely well," Macha said. "They've got the deepest starting pitching staff in the league. We've got to focus on what we've got to do."

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