Ryan turned an infield single into a kooky “Little League triple” in the first inning, inspiring the Seattle Mariners in a 4-2 win over the Oakland A’s on Tuesday night.
But it was Ryan’s alert and aggressive baserunning that set things in motion.
The play began when Ryan reached on a one-out grounder to deep short. As he walked back to first base, Ryan noticed second base completely uncovered so he took off and made it without a throw. He popped up immediately and noticed the same lax defense at third, sliding in safely again without a throw.
“On balls hit into the hole like that when the shortstop has to dive or backhand the ball, the second baseman often times is backing up first,” Ryan said. “If you get past first and second basemen you have second base open so I looked for it.
“Then I got to second and it looked like the closest person to third was right next to me. If get past him, I got third. It would have been fun to crawl home and score on that,” he said. “It was really a wacky opportunity that presented itself.”
“You see a guy take one bag on them being lackadaisical then to take two bags on one play, it’s pretty amazing,” Carp said. “It definitely fired us up.”
Wells, who came to Seattle in a four-player trade with Detroit on Saturday, said, “I didn’t know what was going on. It was like back in Little League or a Bad News Bears kind of play.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said Ryan’s play was “not a lack of hustle or focus, it was just a lack of communication between them (infielders).”
“I don’t think it affected us going forward. We got past it,” he said. “We kept battling on their guy and finally got him out of the game.”
Hernandez (10-9) made it hold up as he allowed two runs and five hits, struck out nine and walked three in 6 1-3 innings. He has 162 strikeouts, tied for second best in the American League.
The right-hander improved to 12-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 21 career starts against Oakland, including five consecutive winning decisions. He hasn’t lost to the A’s since Sept. 19, 2008.
“That’s something I’ve never seen before,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Ryan’s play. “He’s a heads-up player. It’s one throttle for him.
“You love seeing heads-up baseball. There is nothing that’s going to give a team more energy than good aggressive baserunning. It just empowers your club. It brings life into your club.”
Scott Sizemore(notes) hit a two-run homer on Hernandez’s final pitch in the seventh, but Jeff Gray(notes) worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth and Brandon League(notes) finished for his 25th save in 29 opportunities.
The Mariners have won four of six since a club-record 17-game losing streak.
Harden allowed four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. For the Mariners, that represented a career breakthrough against him. It was the most runs ever scored against Harden in a game at Safeco Field. He entered with a 5-0 record and 0.86 ERA in six career starts at Seattle’s home.
NOTES: Mariners 1B Justin Smoak(notes) took a hard ground ball to his left thumb in the sixth and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative. He is day to day. … The Mariners promoted RHP Tom Wilhelmsen(notes) from Double-A Jackson. … A’s SS Cliff Pennington(notes) came out of Monday’s game in the sixth inning with an outbreak of Bell’s Palsy, a disorder of the nerve that controls movement of the face muscles. Medication has controlled the condition and he may be available again Friday at Tampa Bay. … With both Pennington and OF David DeJesus(notes) (sore thumb) sidelined, the A’s brought up utilityman Adam Rosales(notes) from Triple-A Sacramento. LHP Jerry Blevins(notes) was designated for assignment. … Seattle LHP Charlie Furbush(notes), acquired from Detroit on Saturday, makes his third big league start Wednesday afternoon. He made a pair of July starts for the Tigers, combining for 7 1-3 innings, allowing 12 runs, eight earned. … LHP Gio Gonzalez(notes) takes the mound for the A’s on Wednesday. Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 career appearances against Seattle.