August 1, 2011 in Sports

M’s ride rookies to victory

Ackley, Beavan come through for Seattle
 

SEATTLE – Doug Fister has to be wondering where all that offense was when he was in the starting rotation.

On the day Fister was scheduled to start for the Seattle Mariners, before his trade to Detroit on Saturday changed everything, the Mariners erupted for 16 hits in an 8-4 victory over Oakland.

Fister was notorious for the lack of run support he received in his starts. The beneficiary Monday at Safeco Field was rookie Blake Beavan, who stepped into Fister’s rotation spot and turned in a strong effort en route to his second victory.

Beavan’s day started ominously, when the A’s leadoff hitter, Jemile Weeks, delivered a shot up the middle that hit the right-hander on his left ankle. The M’s trainer came out and Beavan took a few warmup tosses, then stayed in the game.

The A’s went on to load the bases with no outs in the first, but Beavan wriggled out of damage. He struck out Josh Willingham and Ryan Sweeney – both looking – and got Conor Jackson on a fly to left.

From that point, Beavan breezed, allowing just one more hit through the seventh, when he was touched for three hits and two runs before departing with two outs.

In his first five major-league starts, Beavan has worked into the seventh inning in all of them. He was facing an Oakland team that led the majors in batting average (.316), slugging percentage (.479) and on-base percentage (.388) since the All-Star break.

The Mariners’ offense, the worst in baseball, was an equally compelling story line on a night of rare production.

The big hitter was Dustin Ackley with a double and triple and three runs batted in. Brendan Ryan and Miguel Olivo added three hits, and newcomer Casper Wells, who came in the Fister trade, was one of several Mariners with two hits.

Every Mariners starter, in fact, had a hit except Adam Kennedy, and non-starter Justin Smoak had two.

Seattle third baseman Chone Figgins left the game for a pinch-hitter in the third inning after injuring his right hip flexor. He’s listed as day to day. Smoak, mired in an 8-for-70 slump that had caused manager Eric Wedge to keep him out of the starting lineup for two games, had a single, double and walk in his first three plate appearances before flying out in the eighth.

The Mariners broke it open in the second with five runs off Oakland starter Trevor Cahill. With one out, Wells singled to left and moved to second on a single by Figgins. Franklin Gutierrez’s double to right brought in Wells, and after Ichiro reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases, Ackley unloaded them. His sinking liner to right got by Sweeney, who made an unsuccessful attempt for a sliding catch. Ackley wound up on third with his team-leading fourth triple of the year.

An RBI single by Ryan completed the scoring. Cahill didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, matching his career high with 12 hits allowed.

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