OAKLAND, Calif. – A “get-right” series?
No, these three games played in what is an aging and essentially empty crypt against one of the worst teams in baseball is more a “get-back” series.
Get right? No, the Mariners know they need to get back to playing a brand of baseball less like the last few weeks and more like the magical month of August to get back to one the place that has been their focus since bottoming out in mid-June – the postseason.
The Mariners held the Athletics scoreless and Jose Caballero and Luis Torrens helped revive a stagnant offense to roll to an easy 5-0 victory.
It was a necessary victory after being swept by the Dodgers over the weekend and falling out of a wild-card position.
A series sweep over the A’s is the expectation, with a series win as a begrudging consolation.
While a return to the playoffs seemed like a given when September began and the possibility of winning the American League West title felt like more than a possibility, the Mariners have managed to play their way out of certainty and into doubt.
Nobody expected them to replicate their 21-6 August record, but losing 11 of 16 games to start September was suboptimal.
The Mariners got a solid start from rookie right-hander Bryan Woo, who returned home to pitch for the first time. Born in Oakland and raised in the suburb of Alameda, Woo went to high school about four miles from the Oakland Coliseum. While he went to a handful of A’s games growing up, he was a Giants fans by choice.
Woo pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with four walks and six strikeouts. He threw 86 pitches with 53 strikes, including 14 swings and misses.
While the A’s didn’t score any runs against Woo, they had plenty of base runners. He worked only one clean, 1-2-3 inning – the second.
But he displayed the ability to execute pitches with runners on base, including a nasty two-seam fastball to strike out Nick Allen with two outs and runners on second and third in the fourth inning.
In two starts against the A’s this season, Woo has pitched 11 scoreless innings, with six hits allowed, five walks and 11 strikeouts.
After J.P. Crawford gave them a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Caballero broke a 0-for-19 slump with a massive two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning off A’s starter J.P. Sears. Getting his first start at catcher since returning to the Mariners, ripped an RBI double in the sixth inning for a 4-0 lead.