OAKLAND -- The Mariners used a three-run first inning and home runs from Logan Morrison and Shawn O'Malley to jump on the A's, 8-3, behind a strong eight-inning performance from Felix Hernandez at the Coliseum on Saturday evening.
Run-scoring hits from Robinson Cano and Brad Miller off right-hander Jesse Chavez highlighted the first inning, and the Mariners would knock Chavez out of the game with a five-run lead and no outs in the third, marking his shortest start of the season.
The A's got three runs back in the fourth against Hernandez courtesy of a solo home run from rookie Mark Canha -- his 12th of the season -- and a two-run base hit off the bat of Billy Butler. But Hernandez, who fanned nine, allowed just one hit in his final four innings, moving to 16-8 on the season to tie Houston's Dallas Keuchel for the American League lead in wins. He's 22-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 40 career starts against Oakland.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon skipped Hernandez's last start to freshen him for the final month, but the 29-year-old said he didn't think that was a big factor.
"I can't tell you that. I don't think that made a difference," Hernandez said. "But I felt good today. I had good command, except for the fourth inning. After that, everything was fine -- good pace, good mechanics and I kept the ball down."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED LoMo on a roll: Morrison has proven to be a streaky hitter in his two seasons with Seattle and the 28-year-old first baseman is definitely on a tear on this trip. Morrison's two-run homer in the third off Chavez gave Seattle a 5-0 lead and was his third homer in eight at-bats over a four-game stretch. Morrison also had an RBI groundout in the Mariners' three-run first and is 11-for-31 (.355) with two doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs over his last nine games.
Chavez struggles: Chavez looked off his game from the start, issuing the first of a career-high six walks to Mariners leadoff man Ketel Marte. He boarded each of his next three batters before compiling his first out of the night and needed 33 pitches to get through a shaky three-run first inning, prompting manager Bob Melvin to get Arnold Leon warming in the bullpen. Leon was summoned in the third inning, following Morrison's two-run shot and a walk to Mark Trumbo. Chavez has a 5.75 ERA in his last 13 starts after posting a 3.16 ERA in his first 12.
"I was leaning back way too much," Chavez said. "When I started my stride down the hill, it resulted in me leaning back and, as a hitter, from watching video from behind, you can see the ball basically from 68 feet instead of 60 feet. That was the key today and, probably, a continued struggle the second half, just me leaning back too much instead of using my legs and the mound to my advantage. My stuff has felt sharp, I was just wondering what was going on with the results, and I think that could be a key. Hopefully I can hammer this thing out."
Little man, big results: O'Malley, one of Seattle's four September callups, again made the most of his opportunity as he went 2-for-2 with a home run, double and two walks in his second game with the Mariners. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound utilityman launched his first Major League homer in the fourth off Leon. O'Malley is 5-for-6 with three walks and three RBIs in his first two games with Seattle after batting .188 in a brief September stint with the Angels last year. More >
"They're few and far between, so to get one here is really special," O'Malley said of his homer. "And to do it with King Felix on the mound is awesome."
"I saw the same Felix. I think sometimes when a guy is so good, we expect greatness every time out. In this game, it's just not going to happen. The guys that step in the box make money and drive Mercedes Benz, too. Sometimes the bear get you, too. But Felix has been fine." -- McClendon on Hernandez, who had been 3-3 with a 7.12 ERA over his previous six starts
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The win was Seattle's fourth in a row, which is something they've done only once before this season. The Mariners also won four straight from May 8-12, the first three of those in a sweep of the A's at Safeco Field.
At 58-78, the A's are more than 19 games under .500 for the first time since 1997, when they finished the season 53-82.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
McClendon was unsuccessful on a second-inning challenge of a tag play at third base when O'Malley tried to advance on a wild pitch. A's catcher Stephen Vogt fielded the ball in front of the plate and fired to third baseman Danny Valencia, who tagged O'Malley on the hip just as he slid into the base head first. After a one-minute, 35-second review, the out call stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Hisashi Iwakuma (6-3, 4.22) starts Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT series finale at the Coliseum. The 34-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA over his last six starts, with the lone loss coming against the A's when he allowed seven hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-5 setback in Seattle on Aug. 24.
A's: Left-hander Sean Nolin, acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade, will make his A's debut Sunday. Nolin was 2-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 games, including 12 starts, with Triple-A Nashville.