Rookie additions helping key Mariners' streak

O'Malley comes through on offense and defense while Zych bolsters 'pen

Rookie additions helping key Mariners' streak

OAKLAND -- Since adding four September callups to their roster on Tuesday, the Mariners have won five straight games. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the four newcomers are certainly playing a part in the team's recent revival, with utility man Shawn O'Malley and reliever Tony Zych both chipping in again in Sunday's 3-2 win over the A's.

O'Malley has become the team's new good-luck charm hitting in the ninth spot in the lineup, where he went 1-for-2 with a walk, scored what stood up as the winning run and made a key catch in center field in the seventh inning as the Mariners hung on for their first series sweep in Oakland since 2009.

In his first three games, the 27-year-old out of Kennewick, Wash., has hit .750 (6-for-8) with an .833 on-base percentage (10-for-12) and a 1.250 slugging percentage, thanks to his first career homer on Saturday.

"He's been phenomenal," said third baseman Kyle Seager, who has helped out a bit himself by batting .500 during a nine-game hitting streak. "He's been on base every time. He's such a spark, he can run, he's a switch-hitter, he plays all different positions. It's a really cool story."

O'Malley scores on wild pitch

O'Malley is doing anything he can to help out, including dropping a bunt single in his first at-bat Sunday when he noticed third baseman Danny Valencia giving him a little room.

"He was in on the grass on the first two pitches, then I happened to look up and he'd given me a few steps," O'Malley said. "So I figured I'd try to lay one down and see what happens. And it worked out pretty good."

It worked even better in the fifth when he walked and eventually scored Seattle's third run that inning on a wild pitch, a tally that turned out to be the difference in the 3-2 game. Manager Lloyd McClendon says he's intrigued by O'Malley and will give him chances to continue showing what he can do, which would be a welcome opportunity for a guy who had just 16 Major League at-bats before this year.

"Baseball is always a lot more fun when you win," O'Malley said. "And it's a lot of fun, too, when you're in the lineup and win. Hopefully, we just continue to win games and finish strong."

Zych also contributed Sunday as he came in for his second Major League appearance, this time in a tough spot with runners at the corners and one out with a 3-1 lead in the seventh. The hard-throwing 25-year-old worked Marcus Semien to a full count before striking him out on a nasty slider, then got Billy Burns to fly to center, where O'Malley tracked down a ball in the gap to help preserve Hisashi Iwakuma's win.

"That was huge, absolutely," said Zych. "Kuma pitched great and with the situation there, I just wanted to try to get an out and get my job done and it worked out for the better."

"He was in a tough position there and he did a great job," said veteran Tom Wilhelmsen, who came on to close in the eighth and ninth. "He's holding his own pretty darn well."

Jose Ramirez, the other reliever called up Tuesday, didn't pitch on Sunday, but threw 1 2/3 perfect innings in Friday's win. Outfielder Stefen Romero was 0-for-4 on Sunday, but has hit.273 with a homer and three RBIs in four games.

The Mariners will call up several more players after Tacoma's Triple-A season ends on Monday.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, 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.