OAKLAND -- Mike Montgomery couldn't duplicate his back-to-back shutouts, but the Mariners' rookie southpaw won his third straight start Sunday as Seattle topped the A's, 2-1, to split a four-game series at the Coliseum.
Montgomery (4-2, 1.62 ERA) allowed one run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings as he continues his strong showing as a replacement for the injured James Paxton. Seattle (38-44) closed out its road trip with a 5-4 mark and is now 7-3 against the A's.
"I just thought my pitches weren't quite as sharp, especially my offspeed," Montgomery said. "But I wanted to keep battling and find a way to get the job done. I made some good pitches when I had to, got some ground balls and it worked out."
Oakland got another solid showing from its own fill-in starter as Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.95) allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in his second start in place of the ill Sonny Gray. But a two-run single by Seth Smith in the sixth gave Seattle the lead and kept the A's in the American League West cellar at 38-47.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Slammin' Sam: The A's got some power from an unlikely source: right fielder Sam Fuld. Fuld crushed a Montgomery pitch to right with one down in the third inning for his first home run of the season and just the 11th of his career. The homer ended Montgomery's streak of consecutive scoreless innings at 20.
Monte's revenge: Montgomery breezed through his first five innings on just 58 pitches and other than the home run, had just one tense spot when the A's put runners on first-and-third with one-out singles by Mark Canha and Marcus Semien in the fifth. But he got out of that jam -- and earned a little payback toward Fuld -- by getting him to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Montgomery started losing command of his offspeed pitches in the sixth and was replaced with two on and two out by Mark Lowe, who struck out Josh Reddick to preserve the 2-1 lead.
"I thought he pitched well early on," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "The one thing we tend to forget is he's a young kid and still relatively raw. He's been going very deep into ballgames and I think today he just ran out of gas a little and started to elevate. I just didn't like what I saw and we felt it was time to go to the bullpen."
We're still friends, right?: Seattle's Smith delivered the key two-run single in the sixth to end Bassitt's day, giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Smith's clutch hit against his former A's team was a much-needed blow for a Seattle squad that had been shut out two of the first three games of the series by the A's. Bassitt had two outs in the inning, but hit Robinson Cano in the ankle and gave up a double into the left-field corner by Nelson Cruz to set the stage for Smith, who is batting .333 (9-for-27) with a homer and five RBIs against the A's this year.
"This is a fun place to play," Smith said. "I loved playing here when I was with the A's and especially day games have a good buzz. It's a good atmosphere."
Similar story: For the second straight start, Bassitt lost a 2-1 game. He pitched well in both outings filling in for Gray, but not quite well enough to win either. On Sunday, Bassitt threw 62 of his 98 pitches for strikes, keeping the Mariners off the scoreboard through five.
"My fastball really wasn't there," Bassitt said. "I was 1-0 on every batter. It's tough pitching to any lineup that way."
"If he can do it for another eight weeks, I might be impressed. … No, I'm impressed [now]. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. He's done a nice job." -- McClendon on the showing of Montgomery in his first seven big league starts and his 3-0 record and 0.38 ERA in his last three outings
"I feel like a lot of the good teams I've been on have been able to create some magic late in the game, and we just haven't been able to do that. I think I've seen it sort of snowball. -- Fuld
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Montgomery's scoreless innings streak was snapped at 20 by Fuld's home run, but he still goes into the books with the second-longest streak in Mariners history for a rookie behind the 21 innings of Mark Langston in 1984.
Since 1900, the A's rank second worst in one-run games with a 6-21 (.222) record. The worst is the 1935 Braves at 7-31 (.184).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the fifth inning, Canha hit a grounder to third. He was initially called out on a bang-bang play at first, but after a review, the call was overturned. Semien followed the call with a single to left-center, but Fuld hit into a double play to end the frame.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1, 6.61 ERA) returns from a 10-week stint on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle to face Tigers right-hander Alfredo Simon (7-5, 3.94) on Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT in the opening game of a seven-game homestand at Safeco Field. Iwakuma is 38-21 with a 3.18 ERA in his career for Seattle, including 1-1, 2.35 in four outings vs. Detroit.
A's: Sonny Gray (9-3, 2.09 ERA) will pitch for the A's in a 4:05 p.m. PT start against the Yankees on Tuesday. It's Gray's first game since June 25. He was battling gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella. The right-hander has never pitched at Yankee Stadium, but he's 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two home starts against the Yankees.
Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.