(Sports Network) - Trevor Cahill will try to cap off an outstanding second season in the majors in fine fashion this evening, when the Oakland Athletics hurler toes the rubber in the second test of a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners from Safeco Field.
Cahill has emerged as one of the American League's top pitchers in 2010, with the talented youngster having amassed an impressive 17-8 record and currently ranking fifth in the league with a 3.08 earned run average. The right-hander is seeking to become the first Oakland player to reach the 18-victory mark since Barry Zito andMark Mulder won 23 and 19 games, respectively, in 2002.
The 22-year-old hasn't been in top form as of late, however. Cahill was rocked for seven runs and a season-high 12 hits in just four innings of Sunday's home loss to Texas, and surrendered six runs in five frames in falling to Kansas City two starts earlier on September 15.
Cahill has not faced the division-rival Mariners this season, but made four starts against Seattle during his rookie campaign of 2009. He went 0-3 in those outings while pitching to a 3.80 ERA.
The A's have been struggling as a team as well recently, having lost a season- high six straight contests until snapping that skid with last night's 8-1 triumph over the lowly Mariners. Jack Cust and Chris Carter each went 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead Oakland offensively and back seven shutout innings out of starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez (15-9) yielded just four hits and worked around five walks to notch his 15th win of the season. The promising lefty added eight strikeouts on the night, bringing his 2010 total to 171 in 200 2/3 innings pitched.
Oakland racked up 16 hits in support of Gonzalez, with Carter belting a monstrous two-run homer in the sixth inning and Cliff Pennington adding a solo shot later on. Rajai Davis went 4-for-5 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot.
"We just had some really fortunate hits," said second baseman Mark Ellis, who finished with two hits and an RBI for the Athletics. "We were able to get a big one when Chris hit the home run, but other than that, we didn't really hit the ball good. We were just able to score some runs."
Most of Oakland's damage came against Seattle starter Doug Fister (6-14), who was tagged for six runs and 13 hits before exiting after 5 1/3 innings.
"I thought Doug had pretty good stuff," Mariners manager Daren Brown remarked. "There wasn't a whole lot of balls hit hard, they were just finding holes."
Seattle, losers of two in a row following a three-game win streak, hopes to get better results out of Luke Frenchin tonight's tilt. The sophomore lefty is coming off a positive showing in his last start, limiting playoff-bound Tampa Bay to two runs over five innings to help his club to a 6-2 win.
French has held a regular role in the Mariners rotation since early August and gone 5-5 with a respectable 3.80 ERA in 11 starts since being called up from the minors. Two of those losses have come at the hands of the A's, however, with the 25-year-old having permitted eight runs in 11 1/3 innings during that pair of assignments.
In six career appearances (four starts) against Oakland, French is 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA. He's pitched very well at Safeco Field this season, however, bringing a 3-1 record and a 2.58 ERA over seven games (five starts) at home into tonight's test.
The A's have won 10 of 16 bouts with Seattle this season, but the Mariners are 4-3 against Oakland at Safeco Field in 2010.