Home, bittersweet home. An anemic offense and two eighth-inning errors from SS Chris Taylor doomed the Mariners, whose four-game winning streak came to a halt by way of a 5-0 loss to the Oakland A’s Monday night. A’s starter Rich Hill threw eight shutout innings to improve to 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA over 12 career appearances against the Mariners.
Starter Taijuan Walker was cruising for most of the night and had the Mariners trailing 1-0 heading into the eighth inning. A routine ground ball to Taylor resulted in two bases when the recent call-up threw the ball into the stands. Three batters later, after the Oakland lead had swelled to 2-0, Taylor misfired to first again for a four-run eighth.
Walker (2-4) was dominant at times, having retired 16 consecutive batters after a leadoff single in the first. He had given up two hits before Oakland’s Stephen Vogt led off the seventh with a solo homer. Walker was charged with one earned run – the four in the eighth were unearned – off four hits over 7.1 innings. Walker fell to 0-4 in May after going 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in April. Reliever Vidal Nuno threw just two pitches, the final of which allowed in a run on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. Joel Peralta couldn’t stop the bleeding after coming on for Nuno, as Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate in the eighth.
Seattle squandered a prime opportunity in the second, loading the bases with three consecutive singles. The Mariners didn’t put a runner in scoring position again until there were two outs in the bottom of the eighth. CF Leonys Martin continues to produce atop the Mariners’ lineup. He had singles in his first two at-bats, extending his streak of hits to six consecutive at-bats. Taylor had his first hit of the season with a bloop single in the eighth, but that didn’t make up for his defensive gaffes. Seattle out-hit the A’s 9-7 but grounded into three double plays and stranded six runners.
“It’s tough. Definitely not the way I wanted to start out. But that’s baseball and it happens. I’ve got to have a short memory.” – Taylor
Taylor got his first start of the season after being called up over the weekend to replace injured starter Ketel Marte . . . LF Norichika Aoki moved down to the No. 8 spot for the first time as CF Leonys Martin continues to fill the leadoff spot . . . Oakland has not named a Wednesday starter. The spot was supposed to go to ace Sonny Gray, who was placed on the DL over the weekend . . . Oakland’s Hill, 36, came three outs short of his third career shutout.
RHP Nathan Karns goes Tuesday, That’s been a pretty good thing for the Mariners this season. Karns (4-1, 3.33 ERA) hasn’t lost since the first week, and the Mariners have a 6-1 record over his past seven starts – he’s 4-0 with three no-decisions in that span. Oakland will counter with struggling RHP Kendall Graveman (1-6, 5.48 ERA).