SEATTLE – The line drive off pitcher Jason Vargas’ left foot was the least of the Seattle Mariners’ troubles Saturday night. That merely left a mark near his heel, courtesy of Oakland A’s leadoff hitter Coco Crisp on the second pitch of the game, and Vargas pitched on.
What happened after that left a more lasting impression in a 9-1 A’s victory at Safeco Field.
The A’s nicked Vargas for six runs on six hits in five innings, including Cliff Pennington’s two-run homer in the fourth. They rocked rookie reliever Josh Lueke for four hits and three runs in the sixth, including Kevin Kouzmanoff’s three-run homer. And they stole three bases.
The Mariners also had a runner, Chone Figgins, thrown out at home plate in the first inning and another, Michael Saunders, thrown out trying to steal third base for the third out in the third.
Besides that, the offensive highlight was Ichiro Suzuki’s 3-for-4 game, the 700th multihit game of his career. It pulled his average past .300 for the first time since April 4. He’s batting .304, having raised his average 54 points since Monday.
However, Ichiro didn’t advance after each of those hits, two of them leading off innings. The Mariners left eight runners on base and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, scoring only on Jack Wilson’s RBI single in the second inning.
“We just didn’t play very well tonight, from all sides of the baseball,” manager Eric Wedge said. “They took advantage of opportunities and we didn’t. We’re still leaving too many on base. We made some mistakes in every area of the game today.”
Behind 4-1 after Pennington’s homer in the fourth, the game got away from the Mariners in the sixth. Vargas put the first two hitters on base and Lueke was hit hard in what became a five-run A’s inning.
“We’ve had way too many damn big innings this year, giving up five or six runs in an inning,” Wedge said. “You just can’t do that up here.”
Lueke’s ERA soared to 17.05, and he pitched again without the consistent 97 mph velocity he’d shown in the minor leagues last year. His first pitch to Kouzmanoff registered 97 mph, but his fastballs after that were 93-94 mph.
M’s rookie right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen pitched two scoreless innings and righty Chris Ray, hit hard in his previous two outings, pitched a smooth ninth, allowing only Josh Willingham’s leadoff single.
Ray hadn’t pitched since Monday, spending much of that time talking and working with pitching coach Carl Willis.
“He was down with all his pitches and he had more life, more action than he had his previous couple outings,” Willis said.
LOB—Oakland 7, Seattle 8. 2B—Crisp 2 (5), I.Suzuki (5), A.Kennedy (4), M.Saunders (4). HR—Pennington (1), Kouzmanoff (2). RBIs—Crisp 2 (8), C.Jackson (4), Kouzmanoff 4 (9), Pennington 2 (6), J.Wilson (3). SB—K.Suzuki (1), M.Ellis (2), Pennington (4). CS—M.Saunders (1). S—M.Ellis. RLISP—Oakland 4, Seattle 5. RMU—Peguero. GIDP—Barton, J.Wilson. DP—Oakland 1, Seattle 1.
|Cahill W, 3-0||6||7||1||1||1||2||2.30|
|Vargas L, 0-2||5||6||6||6||3||3||5.53|
IR-S—Lueke 2-2. WP—Cahill. T—3:06. A—25,355 (47,878).
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