Rookie Roenis Elias won consecutive starts for the first time in his career, Justin Smoak knocked in three runs and the Mariners clobbered the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics 8-3 Tuesday night at O.co Coliseum for their season-high fourth consecutive victory. The Mariners, winners of nine of their past 11, improved to 16-15, the first time they have been above .500 since April 15 (7-6).
This is also the first time since June 21, 2011 that Seattle has sported a winning record after May 1. (MLB standings)
Smoak delivered an RBI double in the first inning and Dustin Ackley added a run-scoring single to get the Mariners, 6-1 on their road trip including New York and Houston, off to a 2-0 lead. After Elias (3-2, 3.27) endured a shaky start, he settled down to allow three runs and five hits with three walks in 6.1 innings. He fanned six.
After Oakland scored twice in the second to slice Seattle’s lead to 3-2, the Mariners added a run in the sixth before finishing the rout with four runs in the ninth. All four runs, including Smoak’s two-run single, were unearned.
Five Mariners — James Jones (2-for-5), Robinson Cano (2-for-4), Smoak (2-for-5), Kyle Seager (2-for-3) and Ackley (2-for-3) — produced multi-hit games. Smoak took over the team RBI lead with 20.
The Mariners play a doubleheader Wednesday, the second game serving as a makeup for an April 4 mud-out. Ten days ago, the Mariners were reeling from an eight-game losing streak and stood just one-half game out of last place.
Felix Hernandez (3-1, 2.53), who hasn’t won since April 11, pitches the 12:35v p.m. first game against Dan Straily (1-2, 5.01). Erasmo Ramirez (1-3, 6.75), just recalled, will work the second game.
Hernandez is 17-7 with a 2.60 ERA all-time against the Athletics and is undefeated in his past 10 starts at the Coliseum (5-0, 2.76 ERA).
NOTES: One day after joining the Mariners, OF James Jones made his first major league start Tuesday. Playing center field and batting second, Jones had two singles.