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OAK@LAA: Griffin hurls eight scoreless innings

After playing 10 straight road games and 17 of their last 20 games away from Oakland, the A's are thrilled to be heading home for their final two series of the regular season.

And it couldn't come at a better time. Holding a slim two-game lead over the Angels for the final American League Wild Card spot, Oakland will face the Mariners on Friday in the series opener.

"It'll be nice. I'm proud of these guys, the way they've played. Seventeen out of 20, and even those three games at home were like a road trip, too, since it was just a quick stop," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "These guys have battled real hard, lost some dramatic games, won some dramatic games right after. There wasn't one game where they appeared to just be let down, and that's pretty impressive considering how many games you play."

A.J. Griffin will be on the hill for the A's, looking to bounce back from two rough starts when Oakland needs him the most.

Knocked around in his first career start at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, the right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Having a tough time finding any consistency since going 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA, Griffin is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his last two outings.

Meanwhile, Blake Beavan gets the nod for the Mariners, who begin their final road series of the season.

Impressive since being recalled by the club mid-season, Beavan has gone 7-4 with a 3.61 ERA in his last 12 starts. The right-hander won his 10th game of the season on Saturday against the Rangers, allowing just eight hits in seven scoreless innings.

Throwing his breaking ball for plenty of strikes against Texas, the right-hander showed his superb control once again. While he walked one in the game, Beavan's 10 starts without a walk is tied with the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse for the most in the Majors.

"I thought his secondary stuff was really good," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after Beavan's last start. "He still has to command the fastball, which he did. He did a good job working inside to left and right-handers and keep them honest, but his slider as well as his curve was really good."

Mariners: Saunders rejoins team
• Michael Saunders was back in a Mariners uniform on Thursday, just three days after his wife gave birth to their daughter in Colorado.

His wife, Jessica, delivered their first child, Aria, on Monday night after he flew back following Sunday's game in Seattle.

"It was unbelievable," Saunders said. "No experience in baseball will ever duplicate what I just went through. It was extremely tough to leave, but I know I have a job to do here, and luckily it did come later in the season so it'll only be a week before I get to see her again."

Saunders started in left field and hit seventh in Thursday's game against the Angels, going 1-for-5 .

A's: Drew hitting his stride
• Stephen Drew continues to swing a hot bat as the A's make their final push toward the postseason.

The 29-year-old shortstop is hitting .352 with three home runs and seven RBIs over his last 12 games.

Drew has enjoyed a pair of four-hit games in the last six days, the most recent coming Wednesday from the top of the lineup in the A's big win over the Rangers.

"I think he's really just in the swing of things now," Melvin said. "He's just playing like himself every day and on top of that getting some hits. I think this is kind of like the middle of the season for him. He's kind of just coming into his own, and good timing for it."

Worth noting
• Saturday's game between the Mariners and A's will not be televised, as the 1:05 p.m. PT start time falls into FOX's exclusive Saturday window, but is not being picked up by the national network. Sunday's game will be televised by ROOT Sports, but the radio broadcast is on KTTH 770-AM due to a conflict with the Seahawks on the normal 710 ESPN Seattle broadcast.

• A's lefty Brett Anderson, nursing a strained right oblique, played catch for the first time since the injury on Thursday, making 20 throws at 60 feet and 15 at 75 feet without any issues.

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