After clouting four two-run bombs Friday night, tying a franchise record, the Mariners offense reverted to feebleness Saturday in a 2-0 loss to the Oakland A’s at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics manufactured runs against Felix Hernandez in the first and seventh innings and made them stand up, keeping Seattle from capitalizing on Houston’s 6-1 loss at Boston (box score). At the 81-game midpoint of the 2015 schedule, the Mariners (37-44) remain 10 games behind the Astros and are looking more and more like trade-deadline (July 31) sellers.
Oakland took an insurmountable 1-0 lead in the first on Ben Zobrist’s RBI single.
The Mariners failed to challenge until the seventh when Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz opened with singles, and advanced to second and third on a Seth Smith ground ball. But Mark Trumbo couldn’t deliver and the Mariners came away with nothing. Seattle went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and have been blanked nine times, including twice in this series.
The Mariners managed six hits and eight base runners, one of whom (Austin Jackson) was caught stealing. Trumbo ended an 0-for-16 slide with a fifth-inning single and is batting .146.The Mariners flailed against Oakland starter and winner Kendall Graveman, who did not allow a run in seven innings and induced 11 ground-ball outs.
Hernandez (10-5, 3.02), who failed to become the American League’s first 11-game winner, was far from his best, but it could have been worse. He allowed 10 hits in seven innings, but continually escaped trouble, especially in the second when the A’s loaded the bases with no outs. Hernandez, who had only one 1-2-3 inning (third), escaped. He allowed two runs with six strikeouts and two walks. Hernandez, supported for the 44th time in his career with zero runs, had gone 13 consecutive starts at O.co Coliseum before Saturday without recording a loss . . . David Rollins, one of three Mariners summoned to Seattle from Tacoma Saturday, made his major league debut in the eighth inning and worked a 1-2-3 frame.
“This was a very disappointing day. We had opportunities but just couldn’t take advantage of them. Felix battled all day, but was up in the zone. Just when you think you’re getting ready to take off (after four, two-run homers Friday), you come out and get shut out. It’s disappointing” — Lloyd McClendon, Mariners manager
“It was a rough day, all day long. The curveball was there and so was the changeup, but not the fastball” — Hernandez, after suffering his first loss at O.co Coliseum since Sept. 19, 2008.
The Mariners are 9-14-4 in series played and have dropped 11 of their last 13 day games . . . They have also lost 21 of their last 38 . . . Mariners are 18-19 vs. the AL West . . . Forty-seven of Seattle’s 81 games have been decided by two or fewer runs . . . Mariners are 16-21 on the Fourth of July . . . When Logan Morrison, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller each hit two-run homers in Seattle’s 9-5 win Friday night, that marked (according to Elias) the third time in franchise history that four players homered in the same game with at least one runner on base. The Mariners also did it May 20, 1994 vs. Texas (Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Reggie Jefferson) and May 25, 1999 at Minnesota (Griffey, Butch Huskey, Russ Davis, Matt Mieske).
The Mariners conclude their four-game series at Oakland Sunday with the first pitch scheduled at 1:05 p.m. LHP Mike Montgomery (3-2, 1.62), coming off consecutive shutouts, will start for Seattle opposite RHP Chris Bassitt (0-1, 2.87). The Mariners begin a three-game series Monday against the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field.