OAKLAND, Calif. — A sweep looks great, but a series victory is still the primary objective for any team on the road, particularly against a lesser team.
Seattle shrugged off a disappointing defeat Friday that snapped its six-game win streak by starting a new one, winning the final two games of the three-game set at the Oakland Coliseum. The Mariners punctuated it with an 8-4 victory over the Athletics on Sunday in a game more lopsided than the score indicated.
Wade LeBlanc (2-0) gave the Mariners a quality start, pitching six innings, giving up three runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Kyle Seager provided much of the Seattle offense, driving in four runs. And the Mariners avoided late-inning drama for a change.
“A lot of guys chipped in and contributed,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It was nice and we needed it — to go out and win the series and score some runs on the last day. We got the job done.”
It was the first time in 15 games Seattle had a game decided by more than three runs.
“We’ve been winning some tight games,” Seager said. “It was nice to build a little bit of a lead there and not let our pitchers throw quite as many stressful pitches.”
With the victory, the Mariners (62-54) have won eight of their past nine games. They travel to Anaheim to face the reeling Angels who have lost 10 consecutive games.
“When you are out there, the team’s records really don’t matter,” Seager said. “Anybody can win any game. You just need to keep the intensity up.”
Sunday, the Mariners took a 1-0 lead on A’s starter Zach Neal in the second inning in not-so-surprising fashion. Adam Lind came in having hit homers in his two previous at-bats off Neal in the Mariners’ 13-2 victory May 25 in Seattle.
This time, Lind turned on a 1-2 fastball up in the zone, blasting it into the upper deck past right field for his 17th homer of the season and a 1-0 Mariners’ lead.
What is Lind’s secret?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess it’s good luck. I don’t want to have any bad karma. I was just fortunate to hit the ball well today.”
The A’s answered with a solo homer off LeBlanc in the bottom of the second. Ryon Healy took advantage of a 1-0 changeup, blasting it into the seats past left-center for his fifth homer of the season.
Seattle took the lead for good in the third. Shawn O’Malley led off with a double, advanced to third and scored when Seager jumped on a first-pitch changeup for a double to right to make it 2-1.
It gave Seager 30 doubles on the season to go with 22 homers. This is his fourth season of at least 30 doubles and 20 homers. To put that in perspective, Edgar Martinez had seven such seasons, while Ken Griffey Jr. had five with Seattle and Bret Boone, Raul Ibanez and Alex Rodriguez each had four.
Robinson Cano pushed the Seattle lead to 3-1, lining a first-pitch fastball up the middle to score Seager.
The Mariners picked up another run in the fourth. A replay review of what appeared to be an inning-ending double play revealed that second baseman Tyler Ladendorf didn’t actually make contact with the bag for the lead out. It meant Dae-Ho Lee was safe at second. Seattle capitalized with O’Malley singling to center to drive in the hustling Lee to make it 4-1.
“I’m just glad I hit it soft enough for Dae-Ho to score,” O’Malley said.
Seager broke the game open in the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out — a situation Seattle has been less than stellar in this season — Seager slammed a 1-2 fastball off lefty reliever Daniel Coulombe into the gap in right-center to clear the bases for a 7-1 lead.
“I was just trying to battle,” Seager said. “I was a little in front of the first couple of pitches, but I was just trying to stay middle of the field.”
In the sixth, Khris Davis continued his torment of the Mariners’ pitching staff.
Davis ambushed a first-pitch hanging curveball, blasting it into the left-field stands for his 30th homer of the season that cut the lead to 7-3. In 12 games against Seattle this season, Davis has two doubles, seven homers and 12 RBI.
The two pitches to Healy and Davis for homers were the “two big mistakes” LeBlanc said he made.
“He does really well against curveballs and I missed middle with it,” LeBlanc said of the pitch to Davis.
The A’s cut it to 7-4 when Brett Eibner hit a solo homer off Drew Storen, who had replaced LeBlanc to start the seventh.
But Norichika Aoki pushed the lead back to four runs in the eighth with a key run-scoring single to left field against Coulombe. It was one of three hits for Aoki — two against left-handed pitchers.
AL wild-card standings