Athletics 3, Mariners 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Mark Mulder’s season has gone so well, it was fitting he found a way to win despite being outpitched.
The Seattle Mariners have struggled so mightily, it was not surprising to see them give this one away.
Mulder earned his 14th victory when pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay singled home the winning run in the ninth inning, and the Oakland Athletics beat Seattle 3-2 Wednesday for the Mariners’ team-record 15th straight road loss.
The A’s won their fifth in a row as Mulder (14-3) pitched his fifth complete game of the season. Mulder gave up eight hits in becoming the majors’ top winner this season. Texas’ Kenny Rogers later lost while trying for his 14th victory when Anaheim beat the Rangers 2-0. That pulled the A’s within a half-game of first-place Texas heading into a four-game road series against the Rangers starting Friday.
“Guys came through,” Mulder said. “Sometimes we don’t wake up until two o’clock. Sometimes you’ve got to wait it out, and that’s why I tried to do.”
Kotsay had been given the day off to rest before the team opens a season-long 11-game road trip Friday with four games in Texas, but was called upon to pinch-hit for Bobby Kielty.
Kotsay, who has been one of the A’s most reliable hitters recently, batted .600 (12-for-20) during the six-game homestand and is showing just why general manager Billy Beane traded for him in the offseason.
“Obviously, put in that situation, you want to come through,” Kotsay said. “I was fortunate enough to hit it in the right spot.”
Seattle starter Jamie Moyer pitched a great game, striking out a season-high nine over seven innings, but remained winless in his last eight starts.
The Mariners surpassed the 14 straight road losses from May 21-June 21, 1988. Their last road win this year was June 20 at Pittsburgh.
Closer Eddie Guardado shouted in frustration by his locker afterward, the yelling directed at no one in particular.
The last team to lose 15 straight road games was Oakland, from May 24-June 23, 1986. Seattle is four road losses shy of matching the American League record of 19 set by the Philadelphia A’s in 1916.
The New York Mets own the major league record with 22 straight away defeats from June 16-July 28, 1963. Mariners manager Bob Melvin has said he’s tired of talking about the streak.
“It’s tough as a team,” Moyer said. “We’re really struggling. It hasn’t gone well all year. We have to continue to work. Anyone can give up. It’s a matter of pride now.”
Seattle couldn’t capitalize on a scoring chance in the eighth. Bret Boone doubled, then reached third on Byrnes’ throwing error from center field. Boone was later caught in a rundown for the second out and Scott Spiezio popped out.
Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest in the majors. He chopped a single to short in the third, just beating out the throw to first by Bobby Crosby. Bucky Jacobsen homered for the Mariners, his fifth of the year.
Byrnes hit his 14th homer of the year—“He closed his eyes and swung and hit a homer,” Hasegawa said—and finished with three hits. Marco Scutaro also had a solo homer for the A’s. Oakland’s winning streak is the club’s longest since getting eight straight victories June 5-13.
“The eighth inning has been our Achilles’ heel,” Melvin said. “Someone has to step up in the eighth inning and get some outs, keep the ball in the park.”
Moyer outpitched Mulder and allowed only five hits with one walk. Seattle was swept by the A’s in a three-game series for the first time since Sept. 21-23, 2001, in Oakland.
Moyer, who hasn’t won since June 18 at Pittsburgh, has lost five straight decisions. He is 0-6 in nine day starts this year.
Mulder got through the first inning 1-2-3 in just nine pitches, but allowed Jacobsen’s homer leading off the second, a solo shot that hit off the facing underneath windows in left-center.
The lefty had his 11-game winning streak snapped in an 8-3 loss to the Rangers last Friday night.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the third when Suzuki scored on Mulder’s wild pitch with the bases loaded. But Mulder then struck out Jacobsen and Raul Ibanez to end the inning.
Melvin acknowledged that INF Dave Hansen and lefty reliever Mike Myers could be candidates to be traded and have drawn interest from other teams. … This is Suzuki’s third career 20-game hitting streak. He has 43 hits this month after getting 50 in May. … Edgar Martinez got the day off. Jacobsen was the DH. … The game drew 40,988 fans for root beer float day that raised $50,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.