To beat the Seattle Mariners is simple: Keep their offense in the yard and the rest will fall into place.
Brett Anderson couldn’t do that, allowing three homers as the Oakland Athletics lost to Seattle for the fourth time in as many meetings this year, falling 4-3.
Daniel Vogelbach and Tim Beckham each took Anderson yard in the second inning, and, after the A’s tied it on an error in the fifth, Mitch Haniger hit a two-run jack to give the hosts a lead they would never relinquish.
Oakland (19-25) was ineffective with men in scoring position against a Seattle bullpen that entered the day with a 5.41 ERA, the fifth-worst in all of baseball.
Mariners starter Mike Leake was unable to finish the seventh inning as Stephen Piscotty doubled on a pop-up to no-man’s land with one out and Robbie Grossman brought him home with a two-out single. Cory Gearrin, who pitched for the A’s in September of last season, couldn’t get out of the inning as Josh Phegley dropped in a single and Marcus Semien walked.
With Jurickson Profar coming up, Mariners manager Scott Servais went to his lefty, Roenis Elias, and the A’s countered with Chad Pinder, who was looking to break his career 1-for-22 mark with the bases loaded. Mark Canha would have also been an option off the bench, but Bob Melvin chose to plug one second baseman in for another, and the move backfired, with Pinder swinging and missing on three straight high fastballs. Elias also struck out the side in the eighth, quickly fanning Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and Matt Olson.
The A’s bullpen would prevent Seattle (22-23) from adding on further as Liam Hendriks worked out of a jam in the seventh, got the first out of the eighth and handed the ball over to Ryan Buchter, who struck out a pair of lefties in Vogelbach and Jay Bruce. Had the A’s able to score in the ninth, it would have put Buchter in line for a win, and things got off to a promising start.
Elias walked Piscotty, but he struck out Ramon Laureano. Canha then got his chance to pinch-hit, and his grounder went off of Elias’ glove and bounced right to shortstop J.P. Crawford, who flipped to second to try to get the lead runner, but Dee Gordon dropped the ball to gift Oakland an extra chance. That chance would immediately be thrown out the window as Phegley grounded into a game-ending double play.
The error was one of two the Mariners made on the night and brought them to a league-leading 47 on the season, but the A’s were unable to take advantage.
Oakland did score off two off a Beckham throwing error in the fifth, manufacturing a pair of runs behind gutsy baserunning. Laureano walked and Grossman followed with a single, and both advanced on Phegley’s flyout to left-center, with Laureano just beating Haniger’s throw. Edwin Encarnacion couldn’t scoop Beckham’s low throw on a Semien grounder, and Grossman alertly raced home behind Laureano to tie the game. Even with Seattle’s poor defense, Anderson’s inability to shut down the struggling Mariners, and the A’s failure to cash in with men on base in the seventh and ninth, cost them against a team that had entered the two-game series with losses in 21 of their last 28 games.
Oakland is now 12-14 against teams with losing records, including 0-4 against the Mariners and 0-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays. The A’s are also now 5-15 on the road, plus 0-2 in “home games” that they played against the Mariners in Japan.