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First-place Oakland has to beat Hernandez tonight to extend win streak

Tommy Milone makes his 2014 debut tonight against King Felix and the Mariners in Seattle.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Here we go again: it's never easy being in the same division as Felix Hernandez.

The Oakland Athletics get to face King Felix for the second time in less than a week tonight as they take a four-game winning streak into Seattle to face the Mariners. Strangely, the A's current success began against immediately after the last time they faced Hernandez (2-0, 1.88).

When Seattle came to Oakland last week, the Mariners were 3-0 atop the American League West: now, it's the A's who lead the division by a half game over Seattle, and if they want to stay there, it'll take a big effort against The King.

Tommy Milone makes his first start of the year for Oakland, opposite Hernandez -- who stifled the A's to the tune of one run over 8.1 innings last Saturday at the O.co Coliseum, the last time the boys from Oakland lost a game.

Since then, the A's have won four straight, beating the Mariners last Sunday before heading to Minnesota to sweep the Twins in a three-game set. Oakland's 6-3 record overall is just a shade better than Seattle's current 5-3 mark.

The A's certainly faced some adversity in Minnesota, as Jim Johnson had another harrowing outing on Wednesday that cost him his "closer" role in the bullpen. Going forth, the task of saving Oakland wins will take a committee approach.

With the 6-1 win on Thursday, the A's earned their ninth straight win over the Twins, and they've scored at least six runs in every one of those victories.

Against the Mariners on the road, Milone will try to extend another Oakland streak: the A's starting rotation has posted nine straight starts this season, while allowing three runs or less. The starters have a 1.93 ERA in 56 innings so far in 2014.