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AL West champion A's seek 17th win vs. Mariners this year

Sep 27, 2006 - 3:34 PM Oakland (91-66) at Seattle (76-82) 10:05 pm EDT

SEATTLE (Ticker) -- It was only fitting that a victory against the Seattle Mariners clinched a division title for the Oakland Athletics.

The A's shoot for an unprecedented 17th triumph against the Mariners this season when the teams conclude a three-game series at Safeco Field on Wednesday.

Oakland claimed its fourth American League West Division this decade with Tuesday's 12-3 triumph here, improving to 16-2 against Seattle this season. The only other time the A's posted as many as 16 victories against one opponent in a season was 1970, when they went 16-2 against the Chicago White Sox.

Barry Zito (16-9, 3.89 ERA) has gone 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts vs. the Mariners this season, improving his lifetime mark against them to 12-2. The ace lefthander has won both previous outings here this season, sporting a 0.69 ERA.

Expected to be among the more coveted free agents this offseason, Zito has gone 1-1 with a 6.31 ERA in four starts this month. He has a mark of 3-4 with a 6.42 ERA in September the last two years after going 17-4 with a 2.68 ERA in the final full month of the regular season the previous five seasons.

The Mariners give the ball to Gil Meche (11-8, 4.48), who allowed six runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings of an eventual 11-6 victory at Chicago on Friday. In his previous five starts, the righthander was 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA.

Meche won the season-series opener against the A's on April 6, allowing two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-2 triumph. Seattle then lost the next 15 meetings before Monday's come-from-behind 10-9 victory here.

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