Cano, Mariners handle error-prone A's, take series
By Jane Lee and Doug Miller
SEATTLE -- The Mariners continue to regroup as the A's continue to struggle. A night after Seattle took a nail-biter over its American League West rival in extra innings, the Mariners took advantage of sloppy Oakland defense to cruise to a 7-2 victory on Saturday evening before 37,441 at Safeco Field.
"Every game has been one run or a tie game, and it's been pretty challenging," Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz said. "To be able to win that way was nice."
Seattle had not won a game by more than three runs since the season began, but the Mariners scored twice in the first inning and once in the second against A's starter Jesse Hahn, and Seattle left-hander J.A. Happkept the A's in check through five innings. The A's helped the home team's cause by committing four errors on the night, and the Mariners took advantage by scoring twice more in the fifth and again in the sixth.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano went 3-for-5 with an RBI, Seth Smith had two hits and an RBI, and Cruz, the AL RBI leader, added to his total with an RBI double in the first inning. Mark Canha's solo home run in the eighth and Billy Butler's RBI single in the fifth inning were the bright spots on offense for Oakland, which lost its fourth consecutive game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Getting things started early: The Mariners haven't exactly been an offensive juggernaut so far this season, so getting a couple of first-inning runs was big for the team. Cano got things started with a two-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch, and Cruz doubled him in. Two batters later, A's shortstop Marcus Semien's two-error play enabled Cruz to score and Seattle enjoyed a 2-0 lead that it would not relinquish.
"I think we did a good job of obviously getting a good start and then adding on throughout the game," Mariners designated hitter Brad Miller said. "I like that. No let-up throughout the lineup, and nobody gave away at-bats. So it was pretty solid."
Defense in disarray: The A's recorded their first four-error game since Aug. 22, 2012, giving them a total of 32 errors in as many games -- most in the Majors. Semien was charged with two errors on the same play in the first inning, botching what would have been an inning-ending groundout to allow Seattle's second run to score. In the fifth, third baseman Brett Lawrie made a nice diving stop on a sharp grounder off the bat of Cruz but sailed it into the outfield, bringing in two runs. More >
"We're making some young mistakes," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We do have a lot of range and get to a lot of balls and then end up making a mistake. But it's the consistency of it. We'll play a really great game where we make some plays, and then we'll play another game where we'll make four errors, and you're not going to win any games making four errors."
Cano can do: Cano singled up the middle in the sixth inning for an RBI and his third hit of the night. Cano has been heating up with the weather in the Pacific Northwest, getting eight hits in his last 16 at-bats over the last four games. He raised his season batting average from .263 to .276 on Saturday night alone.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's will have right-hander Jesse Chavez on the mound to try to salvage one game of this series. Chavez was excellent in his third start of the season Tuesday, allowing one unearned run and four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings against the Twins. The right-hander has made 12 career appearances, including three starts, against Seattle, going 0-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
Mariners: Mother's Day festivities will hit Safeco at 1:10 p.m. (PT) on Sunday and it will be time for staff ace Felix Hernandez to try to improve his season record to 6-0 while aiming for his 20th career victory over the A's. Hernandez's only non-victory of the season was a no-decision against the A's on April 12, when he gave up three runs on eight hits in five innings in Oakland.