Winning for the ninth time in 13 tries, the Mariners went up 3-0 in the first inning and cruised to an almost casual 7-3 triumph (box score) Saturday in Oakland behind eight innings from Felix Hernandez, pitching for the first time in 10 days. Shawn O’Malley, the rookie outfielder from Kennewick, WA., in his second big-league game, hit his first home run. The Mariners (65-71) have scored 35 runs in four September games, all wins, matching their season’s longest streak.
When Hernandez stepped upon the mound. He entered the game 6-1 vs. the Athletics in 10 starts dating to the start of last season (2.51 ERA, nine quality starts). His 22nd career win over Oakland also tied Houston’s Dallas Kuechel for the American League lead in victories with No. 16.
The Mariners had 14 hits. O’Malley was on base all four times, with a homer, single and two walks. Seth Smith had three hits, including two doubles. Logan Morrison had a two-run homer, his 16th, and theee RBIs. Brad Miller had two hits.
Until a loss July 4 in Oakland, Hernandez had gone 13 consecutive starts without a losing decision at the Coliseum, tied for the park’s longest streak by an opposing pitcher (Mike Flanagan, BAL, 1977-84). Hernandez gave up six hits, four of which came in his one bad inning, the third, when the A’s scored all their runs. He struck out nine.
A’s starter Jesse Chavez lasted two innings and 60 pitches, giving up five runs, six hits and five walks.
“What is he, five for six? If he goes 30 for 40, I’ll be impressed . . . he’ll get the chance,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon on O’Malley
The win clinched the season series for the Mariners, who have beaten the A’s 11 of 15 times. They have won the series three years in a row, the first time that’s happened since 2001-03 . . . RF/DH Nelson Cruz missed his second game in a row with a quad strain, and LF/DH Franklin Gutierrez also sat out after straining a groin muscle that forced him from Friday’s game. Gutierrez, in a platoon role, has a .641 slugging percentage, highest of any player in MLB with more than 100 at-bats. “He’s feeling a little better,” McClendon said. “It wasn’t as bad as we thought it was.” . . . Returning home Monday to a series with the Rangers, the Mariners have Roenis Elias starting Monday’s 3:40 p.m. Labor Day game, Taijuan Walker goes Tuesday night and Hernandez at 12:40 p.m. Thursday. Wedneaday is TBA.
The Mariners, 6-3 on the road trip, go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday when Hisashi Iwakuma (6-3, 4.22 ERA) takes on LH Sean Nolin, who makes his major league debut.