SEATTLE — Rich Hill struck out 10 batters over six innings to give Oakland’s overworked bullpen a break, Josh Reddick homered for the second straight game and the Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 on Saturday night.
Oakland won the first two games of the weekend series between the AL West foes thanks largely to a stellar performance from Hill (1-1). He was shaky on opening day while filling in for ill Sonny Gray but rebounded by allowing just one run on five hits and a walk Saturday. His only mistake was a solo homer from Chris Iannetta in the second inning.
Reddick’s two-run homer came with two outs in the fifth inning — he jumped on a changeup from Seattle starter Nathan Karns (0-1) for a 4-1 lead. Danny Valencia and Jed Lowrie also had RBI singles.
Hill has never struck out more than 11 in his career, but he has now struck out 10 in four of his past six starts dating back to last September. Hill’s best inning was his last — he shut down the middle of Seattle’s order by striking out Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Iannetta around a hit batter and a single from Nelson Cruz.
Karns made his Mariners debut after being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay. Karns beat out James Paxton for the final spot in the Mariners rotation but nearly didn’t make it out of the first inning on Saturday, needing 35 pitches and giving up two runs to open the game on singles by Valencia and Lowrie. Karns avoided trouble again until the fifth, when he gave up a single to Coco Crisp and missed on a 3-2 pitch to Reddick.
Iannetta’s home run was his first for Seattle and continued a strong first week for the catcher. Seattle has now homered in each of its first five games for the first time since 1998.