Mariners 4, Athletics 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Mariners’ trio of Joses all played a key part in the team taking two straight from the defending division champion Oakland Athletics.
Seattle is having its way with the A’s so far this season—and oh what a change from last year.
Jose Lopez hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, Jose Vidro had three hits and drove in a run, and the Mariners beat the A’s for the fourth time in five meetings with a 4-2 victory Thursday.
On Wednesday night, Jose Guillen hit a solo home run that stood as the game-winning hit. He scored a run Thursday as the Mariners won their third straight following a six-game skid.
“These were two very nice wins in Oakland,” Vidro said. “It means we’re getting back to playing baseball the way we should. It was a tough six losses but we bounced back with three big Ws. When you’re not winning you’re hitting line drives right at people. When you are winning, things fall in. It all evens out in the long run.”
Richie Sexson hit an RBI double in the seventh that snapped an 0-for-20 streak, giving Seattle an unearned insurance run. The Mariners went 2-17 against Oakland last season.
“So far it’s working in our favor,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “It beats last year.”
Lopez, the Mariners’ No. 9 hitter, connected against Kiko Calero (0-2) to put Seattle ahead 3-2.
Oakland’s Mark Ellis broke a scoreless tie with a one-out double in the third to score Shannon Stewart, who singled to get aboard and advanced on a wild pitch. Eric Chavez followed Ellis with another RBI double to make it 2-0.
Ellis, batting in the No. 2 hole for the second straight game, doubled for only his third hit at home this season and later singled, too.
Miguel Batista (2-2) avenged a loss to the defending AL West champions from earlier this month despite going only 5 1-3 innings. The 36-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and five hits, struck out six and walked two for his first win away from Safeco Field.
He gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings against the A’s on April 4 in Seattle.
“Batista threw the ball a lot better than last time, probably the best all year,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We didn’t come up with the big hit when we needed it.”
Vidro hit a bloop single to shallow right in the first to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, then singled again in the third before getting Seattle on the board with an RBI double to center in the fifth. Rookie center fielder Danny Putman, called up to fill in Oakland’s depleted outfield, had the ball in his glove but couldn’t hold onto it before he banged into the wall.
Brandon Morrow pitched the eighth for Seattle on a day Hargrove had hoped to stay away from the rookie because he pitched 3 1-3 innings for his first major league win Monday at Texas. Morrow allowed a leadoff single to Mike Piazza and a walk to Dan Johnson before Travis Buck reached on a fielder’s choice and closer J.J. Putz relieved. Putz recorded the final five outs for his second save in as many chances.
“It was a good two-game series. We got two very well-pitched ballgames,” Putz said. “Talking with (Yankees closer) Mariano Rivera, he says sometimes the biggest outs are in the eighth. Today was a good example of that. When the phone rings, you have to be ready.”
Johnson had a pair of base hits in his second game back from the disabled list after going 0-for-3 a night earlier, when the Mariners snapped a 10-game losing streak in the Coliseum with Jarrod Washburn’s three-hitter in a 2-0 Seattle win.
Joe Kennedy allowed seven hits and one run in five innings, walked two and didn’t strike out a batter. The left-hander, who took a 7-0 loss Saturday at Texas, was in position for the win until Calero surrendered Lopez’s second homer of the season.
“It was small for me but big for the team,” Lopez said. “All I wanted to do was to swing hard and see what happens with Ichiro coming up next.”
Batista hasn’t lasted more than 6 2-3 innings in any of his four starts this year. … Injured A’s ace Rich Harden, on the DL with a strained shoulder, played some light catch. … Geren hopes OF Nick Swisher, nursing an injured hamstring and ankle, will return to the lineup Tuesday in Boston. “That would be a nice target date,” Geren said. “Anytime with a hamstring the first few days you never know. Sometimes they heal quick and sometimes you don’t know. He feels like it’ll be four or five days.” … Calero blew his first save since June 26 at San Diego. “Right now I feel really bad,” he said. “I know that I’m going to be strong. I have five more months and I’m going to be better.”