SEATTLE -- In the words of shortstop Jed Lowrie, the A's "need to take a deep breath."
The A's on Sunday followed their recent pattern of falling behind early, then collecting entirely too little offense en route to a dispiriting 6-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
The A's don't want to be seen as dispirited. They are down, to be sure, after a 10-game trip that began with two wins in three tries at Yankee Stadium but finished with a 3-7 record, sending them under .500 at 19-20. But dispirited is not in their vocabulary.
"We've got to keep our heads up," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "It will turn for us. It will change."
But the A's are returning home Monday with four key players on the disabled list and the first-place team in the American League West, the Texas Rangers, due in for a three-game set.
The A's would love to have disabled outfielders Coco Crisp, Chris Young and Josh Reddick and starter Brett Anderson available, but that won't happen at least until Wednesday's series finale.
Lowrie, who had six hits in the Mariners series, said the formula for winning isn't any different now from what it ever is.
"The guys have to go out there and trust each other," Lowrie said. "We have to let the game come to us. What does that mean? It means that each of us has to fight the feeling that we've got to shoulder the load alone, fight the feeling that you have to do something right now."
Or, as Donaldson put it, the A's have to continue to play hard and believe that good things will happen.
"When we play our good all-around game, we are going to win most of the time," Donaldson said. "When we do what we did today and are lacking in two of the three critical areas (pitching and offense in addition to defense), that's not going to work."
The A's had any number of trouble areas on this trip. The offense hit .210. The pitchers had a 4.55 ERA. The defense was substandard, too.
The A's did have a chance to pull off a 4-6 trip, but Tommy Milone, who has lost five consecutive starts after beginning the season 3-0, was ripped for a three-run home run by Kendrys Morales in the first inning. The A's were never close after that.
"The road trip obviously did not go the way we wanted it to," Milone said. "We can take something from it, especially the series in New York. It was a long one, but we're going home. We'll be happy to be home and start a new streak. We've been there. We know what we have to do. Stuff like this will happen."
After their 39th game in 2012, the A's were four games back, not all that much better than their current six-game deficit. They fell to 13 games off the pace by June 30 before putting on a huge sprint to run down the Rangers.
"Last year, we were in maybe a more difficult position," manager Bob Melvin said. "No one series is paramount."
Anderson, whose next start will be Friday against Kansas City, tweeted, "Well, I could go without ever having to pitch in San Antonio again."
Young (quadriceps strain) will play games in the A's extended spring training camp in Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday.