Dae-Ho Lee ripped a pair of home runs, including a two-out, two-run shot in the seventh off John Axford, which lifted the Mariners to a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics Wednesday. The AL West-leading Mariners (16-11) ran their winning streak to three and also swept their first series of the season despite an uncharacteristically poor outing by Felix Hernandez (box).
Hernandez and the Mariners fell behind 2-0 in the fourth but tied the score in the fifth on an RBI double by Ketel Marte and a single by Robinson Cano. Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run shot over the center-field wall for a 4-2 lead. But the Athletics roughed up Hernandez and reliever Vidal Nuno for six runs in the fifth for an 8-4 lead before Seattle mounted its comeback, capped by Lee’s blast.
With the Mariners trailing 8-6 in the seventh, Kyle Seager singled, scoring Franklin Gutierrez, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Lee followed with his fifth home run and second of the game.
For the second consecutive game, all of the Mariners starters produced at least one hit and Seattle collected 16 overall, a season high, and 41 for the series . . . Six of Seattle’s nine runs came with two outs . . . Cruz led the way with three hits, while Ketel Marte (two doubles), Robinson Cano, Seager, Chris Iannetta and Lee had two each . . . Cruz’s massive home run, his fifth, traveled an estimated 435 feet . . . Cruz went 6-for-11 in the series . . . The three home runs lifted the season total to 38, tops in the American League . . . The Mariners went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Hernandez, who left in a 6-4 hole and took a no-decision, lasted four innings, allowing eight runs (four earned) on nine hits with only one strikeout and no walks. Last time Felix had only one strikeout in a start: June 12 at Houston. Wednesday marked Hernandez’s shortest outing since Aug. 15, when he was blown off the mound: 10 earned runs on 12 hits in 2.1 innings at Boston. Hernandez, whose ERA jumped from 1.38 to 2.21, is 11-4 lifetime at Oakland Coliseum. Had he won, he would have tied Tommy John for most wins by a visiting pitcher in Oakland . . . Four Seattle relievers (Nuno, Mike Montgomery, Joel Peralta and Steve Cishek) combined for four innings of scoreless relief, with Cishek earning his eighth save.
“This was a tremendous team win. Everybody chipped in when we got behind. Guys believed the whole time. We had huge hits. Pitching gets the credit, no doubt. Pitching has carried us all year, but the offense gets the credit today. I’m really excited for Dae-Ho. He hasn’t played a lot, but when he has he’s produced. We don’t win that game without him. Felix just wasn’t on top of his game today.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
“This was awesome. Felix didn’t have his best stuff, but we battled and this was an unbelievable victory. Our confidence is very high right now. We did a very good job” — Cruz
The Mariners haven’t been in first place in their division this late in a season since 2009, when they topped the AL West on May 5 . . . The Mariners have won seven consecutive games at the Coliseum (record is eight spanning the 2007-08 seasons) . . . The Mariners have won six consecutive series and seven of nine this season . . . Last time the Mariners won six consecutive series was in 2011 . . . Mariners are 11-4 on the road, 11-4 in their past 15 games and 13-5 since their five-game losing streak.
The Mariners begin a four-game series at Houston’s Minute Maid Park at 5:10 p.m., PT Thursday. LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 5.06) will throw for Seattle opposite Chris Devenski (0-1, 1.45). After Houston, the Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday to face the Tampa Bay Rays.