SEATTLE – Two A’s hitters appeared up for the task at hand Sunday, and that’s not a sound plan of attack against Felix Hernandez.
Marcus Semien and Stephen Vogt went a combined 5-for-6 against the Mariners ace, and they combined for three home runs between them. But the remaining seven in Oakland’s lineup went hitless as the A’s lost 4-3 and were swept in their weekend series at Safeco Field.
With that, a 3-7 road trip mercifully came to an end for the A’s, who finished their three-city trek with a five-game losing streak. The final assignment of the trip was a tough one with Hernandez taking the mound. He went seven innings and struck out six, improving to 20-7 lifetime against the A’s.
Semien had King Felix’s number, singling and homering twice to left field in three at-bats against him. Vogt singled twice against Hernandez, then homered to right field off closer Fernando Rodney to bring the A’s within a 4-3 score in the ninth. They couldn’t complete the comeback tough.
The Mariners have taken five out of six in the season series so far. After a 9-14 April, the A’s are now 3-7 in the month of May.
Starting pitching report
Given the recent work turned in by Oakland’s rotation, Jesse Chavez gave his team a pretty decent effort Sunday. He worked 6 2/3 innings, but his day turned during a three-run fourth that gave Seattle control of the game. After cruising through the first three innings on 38 pitches, Chavez got knocked around in the fourth. He issued a leadoff walk to Rickie Weeks. Nelson Cruz singled with one out and Kyle Seager’s double to right scored Weeks. With runners at second and third, it appeared Chavez might keep it a 1-1 game. He retired Logan Morrison on a broken-bat liner to first. But after getting ahead of Dustin Ackley 1-2, he caught too much of the plate and Ackley lined a two-run double to left-center for a 3-1 Mariners lead.
Seattle would add to its lead on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly in the fifth. But Chavez steadied himself and worked into the seventh, giving up five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. It was a needed effort considering A’s starters had worked fewer than six innings in eight of the previous 14 games.
Fernando Rodriguez, who has been so good since being recalled from the minors, walked a tightrope in the seventh when he issued walks to his first two hitters to load the bases. But he retired Nelson Cruz on a fielder’s choice grounder to escape the jam and keep it a 4-2 game at the time.
At the plate
Semien was a bright spot offensively for the second day in a row. He recorded six hits over the final two games of the series and notched the first multi-homer game of his career Sunday. But three solo homers for the A’s were not a recipe for success in this one.
In the field
It’s been an interesting couple of days for Semien, whose hot streak at the plate has coincided with shaky work in the field. He committed his third error in the past two games when he couldn’t make a clean stop of Logan Morrison’s hard grounder in the second. That was the only error committed by either team.
A Mother’s Day crowd of 42,831 was on hand.
The Red Sox make their only visit to the Coliseum for a three-game series starting Monday. Scott Kazmir (2-1, 2.75) tries to get back on the winning track against Rick Porcello (3-2, 4.38) in the 7:05 p.m. opener. Tuesday – Drew Pomeranz (1-3, 5.12) vs. Justin Masterson (2-1, 5.18), 7:05 p.m. Wednesday – Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.65) vs. Wade Miley (1-4, 6.91), 12:35 p.m. Tune in to CSN California for all three games.