A night after a six-game winning streak was stopped, the Mariners made use of a pair of home runs from DH Nelson Cruz and 2B Robinson Cano to beat the A’s 4-3 at the Oakland Coliseum Saturday night (box). Hisashi Iwakuma hung on for his club-high 14th win.
With SS Ketel Marte at second with two outs in the top of the fifth, tied at 1, RF Seth Smith dropped an RBI single into left. Cano smashed a first-pitch offering from A’s starter Kendall Graveman just over the center field for 4-1 lead.
Seattle’s first run the fourth came on Cruz’s 29th home run of the season. Cano’s homer was his 26th. The Mariners had nine hits and were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Smith, Cruz and C Chris Iannetta each had two hits.
Battling a sore neck that almost kept him out of the game, Iwakuma lasted 5.1 innings and gave up three earned runs on nine hits, including a solo home run to Khris Davis.
The bullpen gave up two hits over the final 3.2 innings. Edwin Diaz threw nine pitches in the ninth with one strikeout to close out the A’s and pick up his sixth save of the season.
“The bullpen was outstanding. Shut them down, and they needed to tonight. (Iwakuma) hangs in there, he finds a way to keep things down. It’s a good formula for a win.” – Manager Scott Servais
“I was OK to go today, but as the game progressed I started to feel stiffness. My body was starting to fly open. I wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be. I kind of felt that throughout the third, fourth, fifth inning, but I was able to get out of jams.” — Iwakuma through an interpreter
The game was the 14th in a row decided by three runs or less for Seattle . . . Iwakuma is 13-3 since May 20, with a major-league leading 16 consecutive decisions . . . Cano’s home run was his ninth first-pitch homer of the season . . . The Mariners have won eight of their last nine games at the Oakland Coliseum since July 5, 2015.
The three-game series concludes Sunday starting at 1 p.m. when Seattle left-hander Wade Leblanc (1-0, 4.71) squares off against Oakland’s Zach Neal (2-1, 4.60). The Mariners travel to Anaheim to face the Angels for four games starting Monday.