Kyle Seager’s clutch hitting in the Seattle Mariners’ last series actually did Oakland a favor, as they took two of three from the AL West leaders to help the Athletics pull within one-half game of the division’s top spot.
He won’t be receiving any thank-yous from the A’s, though, if he stays hot through this three-game set that begins Monday night in Oakland.
Seager hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday’s 3-1 win at Texas and doubled home the eventual winning run with two outs in the ninth Sunday to give Seattle (57-66) a 4-3 victory.
He also homered Saturday after entering that series 0 for 17 over his previous five games.
“We have other hitters here, but when the game’s on the line like that, it’s Kyle Seager,” acting manager Robby Thompson said. “He’s a great grinder and battler.”
The Mariners’ wins helped Oakland (70-53) gain a game on the Rangers, as the A’s also took two of three from Cleveland after winning 7-3 on Sunday.
Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo homered while Josh Donaldson drove in three runs for Oakland, which would regain the West lead with a win and a Texas loss to Houston on Monday.
“That’s when we’re at our best, when we have equal parts and we can trust everybody up and down the lineup,” said Jed Lowrie, who batted leadoff and was one of five A’s with at least two hits. “That’s been our key offensively. I don’t think I’m a prototypical leadoff hitter but I get on base a lot.”
Lowrie is hitting .409 versus Seattle this season, but Oakland is just 5-8 in the series. Monday’s starter Jarrod Parker hasn’t helped much by going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts against the Mariners, most recently allowing three runs in seven innings of Oakland’s 6-3, 10-inning loss June 23.
Parker (8-6, 3.87 ERA), though, is coming off the longest outing of his career, as he allowed one run in 8 1-3 innings before the A’s fell 2-1 to Houston in 11 on Wednesday. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 12 of his last 16 starts, going 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA in that stretch.
“You pitch like that and you get that deep into the game and only give up one run,” manager Bob Melvin said, “you’re going to win that game a lot more times than not.”
Parker will be opposed by Aaron Harang, who had been struggling of late before a better outing his last time out.
After allowing seven runs in back-to-back starts, Harang (5-10, 5.77) gave up three in five innings as Seattle fell 5-4 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
He’s 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in eight road starts.
The right-hander made his only start in Oakland on June 19, 2012, allowing three runs and walking a career-worst eight in 3 2-3 innings of a 3-0 loss while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He gave up three runs in five innings before the Mariners rallied for a 7-5 win over the A’s on June 22.
Seager went 2 for 14 in the last series with the A’s as Seattle took two of three from June 21-23, and he’s just 4 for 28 over the last eight meetings.