OAKLAND –- A four-run rally in the first inning Friday seemed to bode very well for the A’s. That only served as a warm-up act offensively on a night that both pitching staffs got worn out at the Coliseum. In the end, the A’s couldn’t keep pace and lost 11-8 to the Seattle Mariners to open up a three-game series.
The teams combined for 28 hits and 15 pitchers used in a game that stretched out over 3 hours and 38 minutes. Starting pitchers Aaron Brooks and Edgar Olmos only lasted a combined 3 2/3 innings. The A’s opened up leads of 4-0 and 5-1 early on, but the Mariners took the lead for good with a six-run third that drove Brooks from the game and began Oakland’s bullpen parade.
The A’s tried hitting their way back into it, pulling to within 9-8 in the sixth. But Kyle Seager’s two-run shot off Drew Pomeranz in the top of the ninth provided the Mariners with some important insurance runs.
Starting pitching report
Given a cushy early lead, A’s starter Aaron Brooks couldn’t handle the prosperity. He began the third with a 5-1 lead, but then gave up five hits in a span of six batters, and Bob Melvin called for his bullpen. The rookie’s final line -- 2 1/3 innings, six hits, six earned runs. Ugh …
It probably wasn’t any consolation that his counterpart Olmos departed even quicker, after just 1 1/3 innings.
The A’s got both good and bad from their relief corps -- not surprising on a night that Melvin called on seven relievers total. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte relieved Brooks and gave up back-to-back two-run doubles before closing out an inning in which the Mariners batted around. Fernando Abad served up a two-run homer over the next two frames. Most encouraging was Sean Doolittle’s 1-2-3 sixth inning, in which he struck out two and touched 94 with his fastball. Rookie Ryan Dull also enjoyed a third consecutive strong outing to begin his career.
At the plate
Things couldn’t have started better for Oakland in the bottom of the first. The first three batters reached to load the bases, then Danny Valencia lined a grand slam to the opposite field. It was impressive pop from a hitter that Melvin, speaking before the game, said he hoped could add some power for Oakland moving forward. Brett Lawrie singled and doubled in his first two at-bats and finished 3-for-5 to keep his hot streak going.
Down 9-5 in the sixth, the A’s closed the gap with three runs to make it 9-8. Billy Butler doubled in the rally, and Marcus Semien had the big blast with a two-run triple. Semien continued his hot streak that has stretched for about a month now.
In the field
Semien committed his 33rd error on a bad throw on the game’s first batter, but he also made a nice play up the middle and flipped to Lawrie for a force-out at second. There’s no doubt that Semien’s error total jumps off the page, but overall he’s displaying some noticeably improved defense in the past several weeks, mixing in some highlight plays to go with it. Lawrie doesn’t necessarily get it done smoothly at second base, but he also turned in a nice play, ranging left to cut off Robinson Cano’s grounder, going to a knee and spinning to make the throw to first.
The announced turnout was 16,382.
The A’s will face Felix Hernandez (15-8, 3.66) for the fifth time this season Saturday. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA against them over the first four starts. Jesse Chavez (7-13, 3.93) goes for the A’s in the 6:05 p.m. game. The last fireworks show of the season follows.