Oakland snaps scoreless streak with breakout 9-1 victory over Mariners
Mariners finally allow a run after 22 innings as Jason Vargas drops his ninth consecutive decision dating to last August.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Oakland @ Mariners, 1:10 p.m., ROOT
Heading into Saturday's game against Oakland things were looking up for the Mariners.
They had won two games in a row. The pitching staff had held opponents scoreless for 22 straight innings. And center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was back with the team, sitting at his locker, talking about being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, relieved to finally have answers to the stomach issues that have plagued him all year.
But, once the scoreless innings streak ended in the third, the momentum quickly dissipated. The Athletics scored four runs over the third and fourth innings all with two outs and broke the game open with a five-run sixth, beating the Mariners, 9-1, in front of 25,355 at Safeco Field.
"We just didn't play very well tonight, for me, on all sides of the baseball," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "They took advantage of opportunities and we didn't."
Seattle starter Jason Vargas, who picked up his last win last Aug. 14, retired the first six batters he faced. On the second pitch of the game he took a line drive off his left heel, but stayed in the game.
"It stung pretty good at first, but after a couple of minutes it was OK," Vargas said.
Adam Kennedy, who came into the game swinging a hot bat, tried to spark the offense in the first, lacing a double to right field. Chone Figgins tried to score from first and was thrown out at the plate.
"It was an aggressive play," Wedge said. "It was the right play. That's a good example of them making a play against us. Those are the type of things we have to do, too."
Despite the missed opportunity, Seattle struck first one inning later. Jack Wilson hit a line drive up the middle, allowing Chris Gimenez to score from second.
Then the Mariners ran into two innings of two-out trouble. Coco Crisp drove in a run with a two-out double to center field to tie the score in the third. In the fourth, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a line drive to center with a runner on second and two outs. Michael Saunders tried to make a diving catch, but he couldn't come up with the ball and Kurt Suzuki scored. Cliff Pennington followed with a two-run homer to left field.
"I thought I could have done a better job those two innings where I gave up the runs," said Vargas, who allowed six runs on six hits, falling to 0-9 over his last 13 starts dating to last season. "I definitely didn't do a good job of putting guys away when I had two outs. In a tight ballgame like that, especially with a guy like (Oakland starter Trevor) Cahill on the mound, you need to put those innings down when you get two outs."
Through the first two games of the series the Mariners didn't give up an extra-base hit. The Athletics more than made up for that, smacking two home runs as Kouzmanoff added a three-run shot in the sixth — and a pair of doubles, which provided the bulk of the team's offense.
Cahill scattered seven hits over six innings to improve to 3-0. Ichiro was the only member of Seattle's lineup to finish with more than one hit, going 3 for 4.
"We made him (Cahill) work," Wedge said. "We had some opportunities early. We're still leaving too many men on base. We made some mistakes in, really, every area of the game today."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.