OAKLAND, Calif. – By most accounts, Ryan Rowland-Smith was pitching for his rotational life Monday against the Oakland A’s.
If so, his demise came quickly. Rowland-Smith lasted just 22/3 incendiary innings as the A’s blasted the Mariners, 8-4, at the Oakland Coliseum.
The Mariners fell 10 games under .500 for the first time this season at 14-24, and dropped 61/2 games behind first-place Texas in the A.L. West, matching their largest deficit of the season.
Rowland-Smith entered the game with a 6.44 earned-run average, and left with a 7.62 ERA. The left-hander was pummeled early and often, giving up 10 hits – including two homers and three doubles – that accounted for seven Oakland runs.
Before the game, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu had deemed Rowland-Smith “a young pitcher we believe is going to be a lot of help to us, not only now but in the future.”
But Wakamatsu came out with the hook after a two-run homer in the third inning by Adam Rosales, the No. 8 hitter in the Oakland lineup. Kyle Kouzmanoff had belted a two-run homer in the first inning, and Rajai Davis had a two-run double in the second to account for much of the damage.
Now the Mariners must decide the fate of Rowland-Smith, who fell to 0-4 and has lasted 41/3, 3 and now 22/3 innings in his last three starts.
Since Rowland-Smith is out of options, it would be dicey to send him to Triple-A Tacoma, which would require that he clear waivers. Despite his struggles, the M’s are unlikely to risk losing him to another team.
That would leave the bullpen as the most likely option. Among the candidates to replace Rowland-Smith in the rotation would be left-hander Luke French, who is 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in eight starts for Tacoma; or Ian Snell, who began the season in the rotation but was demoted to the bullpen when Cliff Lee was activated.
Snell worked 22/3 innings in relief of Rowland-Smith, giving up five hits and one run.
The Mariners, meanwhile, continued to struggle offensively, getting just six hits off A’s starter Gio Gonzalez and four relievers. One of those was the second career homer by Matt Tuiasosopo, which should come with an assist by center fielder Davis. On Tuiasosopo’s drive to center in the fourth, Davis made a leaping effort, but the ball tipped off his mitt and over the fence.
Jose Lopez accounted for the three other Mariners runs with RBI singles in the first and sixth, and a run-scoring ground out in the eighth. They were the first runs driven in by Lopez, the Mariners’ cleanup hitter, since May 1.
The Mariners’ last legitimate chance to get back in the game expired in the sixth after Gonzalez walked the first two hitters, and Lopez brought in a run with a single.
Ken Griffey Jr., making a rare start against a left-handed pitcher, grounded into a double play, and Tuiasosopo flied out. Griffey went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .182.
Griffey’s 88 at-bats are the most he has gone without a homer to start a season. Including last season, his current streak is 93 consecutive homerless at-bats, eight shy of the longest regular-season streak of his career. He failed to homer in 101 straight from May 22, 1990, through June 20, 1990. … Mariners INF Mike Sweeney was given another day off to rest a cranky back. He was available to pinch hit. … Seattle OF Ryan Langerhans was also given a day off to rest a stiff left elbow. … Mariners’ C Rob Johnson, sore back, is expected to play today.
Athletics 8, Mariners 4
|Griffey Jr. dh||4||0||0||0||0||0||.182|
E—Jo.Lopez (3), K.Suzuki (3). LOB—Seattle 4, Oakland 5. 2B—Barton (9), R.Sweeney (7), R.Davis (4). 3B—Barton (2). HR—Tuiasosopo (1), off G.Gonzalez; Kouzmanoff (3), off Rowland-Smith; Rosales (3), off Rowland-Smith. RBIs—Jo.Lopez 3 (15), Tuiasosopo (2), Barton (15), K.Suzuki (12), Kouzmanoff 2 (20), Rosales 2 (14), R.Davis 2 (12). SB—F.Gutierrez (5), Jo.Lopez (3), Pennington (5), R.Davis (13). SF—Barton. RLSP—Seattle 3 (Griffey 2, Tuiasosopo); Oakland 4 (Fox, Kouzmanoff, Pennington, R.Sweeney). RMU—F.Gutierrez, Jo.Lopez. GIDP—Figgins, Griffey, Kouzmanoff, R.Sweeney, Fox. DP—Seattle 3 (Jo.Wilson, Figgins, Kotchman), (Snell, Jo.Wilson, Kotchman), (Jo.Lopez, Figgins, Kotchman); Oakland 2 (Pennington, Rosales, Barton), (Kouzmanoff, Rosales, Barton).
|Rowland-Smith L, 0-4||2 2/3||10||7||7||0||3||50||7.62|
|G.Gonzalez W, 4-3||7||4||3||3||4||4||104||4.05|
Blevins pitched to 2 batters in the 8th. IR-S—Colome 1-0, Ziegler 2-1, Breslow 1-0. T—2:22. A—10,051 (35,067).