The A's, desperate for offense, acquired Adam Dunn from the White Sox on Sunday. After getting swept by the Angels in a four-game series in Anaheim, they are looking for something -- anything -- to help turn their once-unstoppable team around, starting on Monday afternoon in the opener of a three-game set with the Mariners at O.co Coliseum.
On Aug. 10, Oakland led the American League West by four games. Since then, the A's have have gone 6-14 and trail the Angels by five games, their largest deficit of the season with 26 contests remaining.
Dunn will join the A's in Oakland on Monday, and he will likely be in the lineup against Seattle right-hander Chris Young. The A's have lost their offensive spark since trading Yoenis Cespedes to Boston, as hitters like Brandon Moss and Derek Norris have struggled. Dunn, perhaps, can provide some pop.
"Look, we're trying to do whatever we can to get some offense going here," said A's manager Bob Melvin, who had Dunn briefly in Arizona in 2008. "The guy has a history of hitting homers and getting on base. I know he's excited about being with us."
Dunn, who has 460 career home runs but has never reached the postseason, waived his no-trade clause to come to Oakland. He then announced his plans to retire after this season.
"I'm going to a place with a chance to not only get into the postseason but also have a legitimate chance to get a ring," Dunn told White Sox reporters Sunday. "Those chances don't come too often, so I'm very appreciative of the way it was handled and for [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and them to give me an opportunity to do it."
Oakland still has an edge over Detroit and Seattle in the AL Wild Card race, but both squads are within striking distance. The Mariners have dropped two straight series and on Monday will send Young to the hill against Jason Hammel.
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been making an effort to give his starters some extended rest, including Young, whose last outing was Aug. 23 at Fenway Park. He allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"You make do. It's similar to the All-Star break where you adjust," Young said of the extra rest. "It's part of the game, part of the season."
Young has already faced the A's four times this season (three starts), giving up five runs in 20 frames.
Mariners: Keeping Zunino fresh
Catcher Mike Zunino's ongoing struggles at the plate were part of the reason he was held out of the lineup Saturday, but his work behind the plate is a major reason why he was back in the lineup Sunday.
Zunino went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts Friday in Seattle's 8-3 loss to Washington, dropping his batting average to .203. Backup catcher Jesus Sucre started in his place Saturday night.
"I think when you don't have the success that you set out to have, it's going to be frustrating," said Trent Jewett, who was filling in as manager while Lloyd McClendon attended his daughter's wedding. "I'll know he's frustrated when he takes it behind the plate."
To ease some of the burden off Zunino and Sucre, the Mariners will likely recall a third catcher -- perhaps Triple-A backstop Humberto Quintero -- on Monday when rosters can expand from 25 to 40 for the final month of the regular season.
A's: Lowrie set to return Monday
Shortstop Jed Lowrie is expected to be activated from the disabled list for Monday's home matinee.
Lowrie, who has been on the DL since Aug. 14 with a fractured right index finger, parted ways with the A's in Anaheim on Friday and played seven innings with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday and nine on Sunday.
"He's a key part of our club, a two-way shortstop guy that's an everyday player for us, a switch-hitter who's a run producer," said Melvin. "You've seen that over the last couple of years. So there are certain guys that you miss more so than others, he is one of those guys that's an important cog for us, so it'll be nice to get him back."
• The Mariners will play 18 of their final 27 games on the road.
• A's outfielder Coco Crisp aggravated his neck on Friday night and is expected to miss several games before returning to the lineup.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.