SEATTLE -- Jed Lowrie summed up Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma in one word: "phenomenal."

Josh Donaldson summed up the A's performance of late in three words: "We're playing bad."

Iwakuma was the dominant force Friday in the Mariners' 6-3 win over the A's, a game in which Oakland was never really in contention. He gave up a hit to an old Seattle teammate, John Jaso, then retired 16 in succession.

By that point the Mariners had built up a 6-0 lead, and the A's were never a threat as Oakland lost its fifth consecutive game and fell under .500 for the first time since the first week of the season.

"That was the first time all year I've seen a pitcher make not even one mistake," Lowrie said. "He was on point with every pitch he made. He had phenomenal command of his splitter."

That being the case, the A's needed to remain close to Seattle to have a chance. They didn't. For the third time in the first eight games of this road trip, the club was down by at least five runs early.

Starting pitcher Dan Straily blamed himself for hanging a changeup that slumping Raul Ibanez jumped on for a three-run homer in the third inning that made it 5-0 en route to 6-0. But it was a play in the first inning that set the stage for the rest of the game.

Third baseman Donaldson cut in front of shortstop Lowrie in pursuit of a grounder off the bat of Kendrys Morales. The ball likely was going to be a double play no matter which one got to it, given Morales' slow feet. But Donaldson atypically pulled off the ball, in the process blocking Lowrie's view. The ball sneaked through to set up a two-run inning.

"That one's all on me," Donaldson said. "I saw (Lowrie) out of my left eye, and I saw it was going to be a play when I'd have to reach. I tried to stop."

Manager Bob Melvin said it was the kind of play on which Donaldson should either attack from the beginning or just let Lowrie handle.

"I don't know if it would have been a double play," Melvin said, "but with Morales running it might have been. If you are going to go get it, just keep going after it."

Lowrie said he thought Donaldson would take the ball, then when he didn't, Lowrie "just lost sight of the ball."

The A's have lost sight of more than that. They've lost sight of the team they were early last month. After getting off to a 12-4 start, in which Jaso said "it seemed like no one had a chance against us," the A's have floundered to the point where Seattle, the winner of eight of its past 11, can move ahead of Oakland and into second place in the A.L. West with a win Saturday.

"I just think we're playing bad in all areas," Donaldson said. "We've got to get our fight back. We're going out and they're jumping us early, and we're not waking up until the seventh or eighth inning."

That much is true enough. On this trip, the A's have been outscored 15-2 in the first three innings of games. They've outscored the opposition 6-0 in the eighth and ninth innings, but it's generally been too late.

"I don't know that we've lost confidence,'' Lowrie said. "What is better to say is that we just need to play better baseball.''

  • The A's called up pitcher Jesse Chavez from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, sending pitcher Evan Scribner down to the River Cats. Scribner was coming off a three-inning stint in Cleveland on Thursday and was going to need a few days off, and the A's didn't want to be without a long reliever in the bullpen.

  • Reports on disabled center fielder Coco Crisp (left hamstring) are that he's feeling better and could start running in a few days. Melvin said Crisp might not need an injury rehabilitation assignment. He's eligible to come off the D.L. Wednesday.

  • Outfielder Chris Young (left quad) is a little ahead of Crisp on the comeback trail, but the A's think he could benefit from a rehab assignment. He can come back on Wednesday as well.

  • Shortstop Hiro Nakajima (left hamstring) was due to start and play nine innings Friday for Sacramento. It would be the first time he's played back-to-back games on his injury rehabilitation assignment.