Rookie Brandon Maurer had a nice major league debut going Thursday afternoon in Oakland — until he reached the sixth inning. Trailing 3-2 following Michael Morse’s fourth home run in three days, Maurer allowed a double (Jed Lowrie), a run-scoring double (Josh Reddick), a two-run homer (Yoenis Cespedes) and a single (Brandon Moss) in a four-batter span, greasing the Mariners’ skid to an 8-2 loss to the Athletics.
The Mariners, who split the season’s opening series with Oakland, winning the first two, dropping the next pair, start a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox Friday. RHP Blake Beavan will pitch against LHP Jose Quintana in a venue, U.S. Cellular Field, that has been a horror house for Seattle: the Mariners are 3-19 at U.S. Cellular over the past five years.
Maurer, 22, who became the first Seattle pitcher to jump from Class AA ball to the majors since 1993, gave up a two-run homer to Josh Reddick in the first and then shut down the Athletics until the fifth when former Mariner catcher John Jaso got to Maurer for a run-scoring single, hiking Oakland’s lead to 3-1.
But Maurer, who joined Michael Pineda (2011) as the only rookies to crack the Seattle rotation since 2000, couldn’t capitalize after Morse drilled a line-shot homer off A.J. Griffin to lead off the Seattle fifth, a blast that enabled Morse to join Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) as the only players in franchise history to homer four times in the first four games of a season. Oakland got to Maurer for three runs in its half of the sixth, putting away the game.
Maurer allowed six earned runs on eight hits over six innings. He fanned one and didn’t walk a batter, but ultimately made too many mistakes in the strike zone. Five of Oakland’s eight hits off Maurer went for extra bases.
Reddick, held in check by Seattle during the first three games, went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Both hits went for extra bases and he scored twice as the Athletics pounced on Seattle pitchers for 10 hits, six for additional sacks.
The Mariners had eight hits, seven off Griffin, but seven were singles that did no damage. Seattle stranded eight runners. Catcher Kelly Shoppach, getting his first start of the season, went 2-for-3 with a walk.
In addition to Morse’s home run in the sixth, the Mariners also scored on a Michael Saunders sacrifice fly in the fifth.
After the Athletics chased Maurer in the sixth, they tacked on two runs in the eighth off Lucas Luetge.