Ryan leads Mariners to second straight win over A's

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Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- When he started for just the ninth time since the start of July on Wednesday against the Oakland A's, shortstop Brendan Ryan was the unlikeliest Seattle Mariner to play the role of hitting hero.

Ryan had gone 9-for-75 in his previous 27 games, an average of .120. Then Ryan, who lost his starting job in early July, struck out his first two at-bats against A's right-hander A.J. Griffin.

But in the top of sixth inning of what would become a 5-3 Mariners victory over the A's on Wednesday, Ryan smoked a two-run double down the left-field line off Griffin, giving the Mariners a 4-3 lead. Then in the eighth, he added an RBI single.

Ryan went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, lifting the Mariners to their second straight come-from-behind win over Oakland.

"It went about as bad as it could the first couple at-bats and then to get behind in the third at-bat," Ryan said. "Thankfully, he kind of made a mistake with that curve ball and left it up a little bit, and I didn't foul it off. It was nice to get the barrel to it and keep it fair and find some fairway out there, especially with guys on base."

Michael Morse and Brad Miller hit solo homer runs for the Mariners, while Coco Crisp and Brandon Moss launched solo shots for the A's.

Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6) earned the win, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings.

Ryan started because shortstop Brad Miller moved to second base, replacing the injured Nick Franklin. Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said he considered leaving Miller at short and starting Dustin Ackley at second, instead of left field. But with Iwakuma, a ground ball pitcher, on the mound, Thompson decided he wanted Ryan's superior glove in the game.

Ryan's hitting turned out to be a sweet bonus.

"He was a little aggravated, upset his first at-bat," Thompson said. "That's kind of how he is, but a couple bit hits, obviously, for us. A big day for him, big day for us."

Ryan admitted that frustration mounts "exponentially" when he's in a hitting slump but getting limited at-bats. Handling life as a part-time player in general has been difficult.

"It's not easy. It's definitely not easy," Ryan said. "We're all professionals. If I'm hitting .280, who knows what happens. ... This is the role I've carved out for myself. I'm just happy to, as cheesy as it may (sound), be in the big leagues and still living the dream."

A's manager Bob Melvin showed plenty of frustration, too, after his team suffered another loss to the Mariners. The A's went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners.

"Everything that we did today is what's wrong with us," Melvin said. "We didn't add on early, we didn't make big pitches when we had to, we didn't come through in situational at-bats. Ugly, ugly game for us and it's been going on for a while."

Melvin will get no argument from his players.

"Someone needs to step up and get hot, and hopefully collectively we can get hot, but it's not working that way," A's third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

Griffin (10-9) took the loss and is 0-2 over his past four starts. He allowed four runs and five hits over six innings, striking out seven and walking four. Griffin gave up both Mariner homers, raising his total for the season to 30, the most home runs allowed in the major leagues.

Relievers Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina and Danny Farquhar combined to blank the A's over the final two innings. Farquhar pitched a perfect ninth with three strikeouts for his ninth save.

The A's took a 1-0 lead when Crisp led off the game with his 11th home run of the season, hitting Iwakuma's first pitch. Crisp has four leadoff home runs this season and 12 for his career, including 10 with Oakland, tied for second most in A's history.

Morse answered with a solo home run in the second off Griffin, his 13th of season and fifth against the A's this year, all five at the O.co Coliseum.

The A's scored twice in the fourth. Moss led off with his 20th home run of the season. Yoenis Cespedes doubled to left center, moved to third on Josh Reddick's bloop single and scored on Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly.

Seattle cut Oakland's lead to 3-2 in the fifth on Miller's home run. In the sixth, the Mariners scored twice, taking a 4-3 lead.

Kendrys Morales walked and moved to second when Griffin walked Ackley with two outs. Ryan brought them both home with a double down the left-field line. Ackley scored in a close play at the plate, sliding in ahead of catcher Stephen Vogt's tag. As he slid, Ackley upended Vogt, and the catcher fell hard on his back as his head snapped back. Trainers examined Vogt -- the A's only healthy regular catcher -- and he remained in the game.

"I think he might have even been trying to deke me a little bit, just standing there like nothing was really happening," Ackley said. "I kind of noticed at the last second, so it was kind of a half slide, half not slide."

NOTES: Oakland C Derek Norris (broken left big toe) was out of the lineup Wednesday against Seattle, one day after being injured, but Melvin said the team has not decided whether he'll need to go on the disabled list. ... A's LF Seth Smith missed his second straight game Wednesday against Seattle because of an astigmatism, a condition that can cause blurred vision. ... Thompson said he hopes to have Franklin (lacerated left knee) back Friday or Saturday.