OAKLAND -- Hisashi Iwakuma pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball, helping Seattle secure a three-game series sweep over the A's with a 3-2 victory at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners, who put together a three-run fifth inning against left-hander Sean Nolin in his A's debut, finished their road trip, 7-3, and have won 10 of their last 14 overall. Oakland, meanwhile, has dropped five straight to fall to 58-79 -- more than 20 games under .500 for the first time since 1997.
The A's managed just five hits off Iwakuma, including a solo home run from Billy Butler in the seventh. The Mariners' right-hander picked up his seventh win of the season, lowering his ERA to 4.03.
"He didn't have his best velocity, but his command was real good," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "He hit his spots and did what he wanted to do. He made one bad pitch, he left a split up to Butler and he hit it out of the ballpark, but other than that, he was pretty good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oh my, O'Malley: The Mariners scored three runs in the fifth off Nolin and Shawn O'Malley was in the middle of the rally with a walk and run scored as the September callup continued making things happen from the No. 9 spot in the lineup. O'Malley went 1-for-2 with a bunt single and the walk and is now 6-for-8 in three games with three walks for a tidy .833 (10-for-12) on-base percentage. Ketel Marte drove in the first run in the rally with a bases-loaded bloop single, Kyle Seager followed with a sacrifice fly and O'Malley scored on a wild pitch. More >
Two walks too many: Nolin was cruising through his first four innings, facing two over the minimum, before finding trouble in the fifth. Following consecutive hits to Logan Morrison and Brad Miller, back-to-back walks to Seattle's No. 8 and 9 hitters, along with a wild pitch that brought in one of three runs in the inning, proved costly. Otherwise, Nolin impressed in his A's debut, flashing a good curveball and changeup to offset his fastball in the six-inning outing. The lefty, acquired in the Josh Donaldson deal, is the first A's pitcher to complete six innings since Felix Doubront did so on Monday.
"For a good portion of it, other than a couple at-bats where he had a couple walks, I thought he threw the ball really well," manager Bob Melvin said. "Kept them off-balance, really not too many good swings, it was just the two walks that ended up costing him some runs." More >
Bullpen to the rescue: The Mariners' relievers have been a sore spot much of the season, but Tony Zych -- pitching in his second big league game -- came through with two big outs in the seventh to preserve Iwakuma's 3-1 lead. He entered with runners on first and third and struck out Marcus Semien on a full-count slider and then got Billy Burns to fly to center, with O'Malley making a running catch to end the frame. After Logan Kensing allowed a run in the eighth, closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on with a runner on second and promptly retired Brett Lawrie and Butler to keep the score at 3-2 and then finished off the ninth for his eighth straight scoreless save.
"Obviously, you don't want to go 3-0 to the first batter you face," Wilhelmsen said of his key battle with Lawrie, who popped out on a 3-1 slider. "It's like, I've got all the confidence in the world with this and here's 3-0. Great. I'm just not in the mood for walking him right now. That's what I told myself and we were able to get him out." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The win was the Mariners' fifth-straight, their longest streak since Sept. 2-6 last year.
"It's great to see. The bats are coming on, the bullpen is starting to get a little sharper. We can' look back at what we've done, we just need to continue to look forward and keep this ball rolling." -- Wilhelmsen, on the five-game win streak
VOGT INJURED, BLAIR MAKES DEBUT
Carson Blair made his big league debut behind the plate in the top of the eighth inning following Stephen Vogt's sudden departure. Vogt took a foul tip to his groin area and walked off the field with a trainer by his side. Blair made his first career plate appearance in the bottom half of the inning, drawing a walk. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Left-hander Roenis Elias (4-7, 4.35) opens a four-game series against the Rangers at Safeco Field on Monday in a 3:40 p.m. PT Labor Day start. Elias will be making his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. He was 2-1, 2.42 in four starts against Texas last year as a rookie, but has yet to face them this season.
A's: Left-hander Felix Doubront will be on the mound when the A's open a three-game series against the Astros in a 1:05 p.m. PT Labor Day matchup at the Coliseum on Monday. Doubront is 1-0 with a 3.28 ERA in five games, including three starts, with Oakland.