OAKLAND -- Robinson Cano notched three hits and scored two runs, helping the Mariners spoil a two-homer night from Khris Davis in a 4-3, series-opening victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Monday night.
Nelson Cruz also finished with three hits for Seattle, which used a two-run sixth inning highlighted by run-scoring hits from Kyle Seager and Chris Iannetta to break a 1-1 tie. The Mariners tacked on a run in the seventh, which proved vital when Davis hit his second home run of the night in the bottom half of the frame, a two-run shot to center off Mariners starter Nathan Karns.
"To hit one as far as he did in our ballpark, center field at night here, means you can hit it out anywhere," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Davis' second homer, projected by Statcast™ to land 443 feet away. "You just have to get a good look at the ball and put good swings on it, and that's what we're seeing right now."
Karns earned his third win, pitching six-plus innings with three runs and six hits allowed, while A's starter Kendall Graveman (1-3) took the loss after yielding four runs on 10 hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings.
"I thought Karns threw the ball very well," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose club stayed a half-game back of Texas in the division race at 14-11. "Davis kind of had his number tonight on a couple curveballs. But Nate gave us a great outing, our offense put some rallies together and our bullpen really stepped up and got some huge outs when the game got tight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Marte makes 'em pay double: Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte made an outstanding catch in the second when he snared a hard line drive by Chris Coghlan as the ball was already nearly past him in his defensive shift up the middle, easily doubling Stephen Vogt off first to help Karns get out of early trouble after Davis' first homer. Marte did it again in the third, catching a hard smash by Billy Burns right at the second-base bag and tagging Marcus Semien, who was running on the play, and then finished his outstanding night with several more key stops later in the game. More >
"His glove I felt was five-feet today," Karns said. "He was all over the place, making plays on both sides of second base. He's a young, talented player and I'm excited to watch him grow."
Two-out trouble: Graveman entered the sixth inning in good shape, with 78 pitches thrown -- after overcoming a 27-pitch first inning -- and a 1-1 tie in hand. But the start of the frame proved ominous. Graveman allowed back-to-back singles before inducing a double-play ground ball from Adam Lind, only to offer up consecutive RBI hits to Seager and Iannetta that put Seattle ahead for good. The right-hander has allowed 10 hits in each of his last two starts.
"I threw a breaking ball to Seager that was up in the zone, but I gotta keep making quality pitches and continue to build, because I thought my stuff was good tonight," Graveman said. "We got some ground-ball outs with the sinker early, and the second time through the lineup they started swinging early, so we had to mix up some speeds and try to keep them off-balance."
Leading man pitches in: New Mariners leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki has gotten off to a slow start with his new club, batting just .212 with a .302 OBP and one stolen base in his first 23 games. But Aoki reached three times on a walk, a single and a double. Most importantly, he scored a key add-on run to make it 4-1 in the seventh when he stole third after his one-out double, then trotted home when Vogt's throw skipped past third baseman Mark Canha down the left-field line.
"That was part of the game plan, to be aggressive on the bases," Aoki said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "We don't have a lot of stolen bases as a whole, so we just want to be aggressive when we can and that worked out well in the end."
Double dingers: Davis endured a slow start in his new colors, batting .143 without a home run over his first 12 games, but he's since tallied five home runs -- Monday's pair marking his first two at the Coliseum. It was the seventh two-homer game of Davis' career. The outfielder, who is solidifying his place in the cleanup spot, has 11 RBIs over his last 13 games. More >
In the bottom of the second inning with no outs, Vogt bunted and was called out at first base. The A's challenged the call and it was overturned after the review.
"I kind of had something to make up from the first game against these guys, so I just wanted to go out there and work ahead, learn from my mistakes. But I've got to give props to Davis. He's swinging a good bat right now. The scouting report says don't groove a curveball in there and I did that twice, so kudos to him." -- Karns, who hasn't lost since his season debut to the A's
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Cano's fourth-inning double was the 450th of his career and he's now the fifth second baseman in MLB history with 2,000 hits, 450 doubles, 200 home runs and 1,000 RBIs. The others? Roberto Alomar, Craig BIggio, Jeff Kent and Rogers Hornsby.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will seek his first win in six starts when he takes the mound for Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT game at the Coliseum. Iwakuma's 4.65 ERA and 1.42 WHIP are well above his career marks of 3.17 and 1.08 coming into this year.
Athletics: A's ace Sonny Gray gets the nod Tuesday, and he will look to right the ship after lasting just two innings with four runs allowed in his last start in Detroit. Gray is 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in nine career starts against Seattle.