OAKLAND -- The A's became the first team to score against Mariners starter James Paxton this season, tallying five runs against the lefty in a 9-6 series-opening victory at the Coliseum to extend their win streak to three games.
Paxton's season-opening scoreless streak was snapped at 23 innings, when the A's rallied for three runs in the third to tie the game, before coming up with two more against the lefty in the fifth and forcing his departure with one out. Paxton scattered nine hits, after allowing just eight total over his first three starts.
"They came out swinging. They came out to hit the fastball," said Paxton."I think that was their plan against me. That's what made it tough, not having that offspeed pitch for a strike today. They were taking that and if I had been able to get it over, it would have been a different ballgame."
A's first baseman Ryon Healy was responsible for three of the hits, including an RBI double in the third and a run-scoring base hit in the fifth. Leadoff man Rajai Davis chipped in with two hits, scoring twice, and also put a ground ball in play in the sixth that scored Josh Phegley for the go-ahead run. Trevor Plouffe helped put the game out of reach with a three-run homer in the seventh.
"Guys are running to the plate to hit," Davis said. "We've got a lot of confident guys right now, and we're putting together some really good swings. We're not missing those mistakes. We're hitting them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Another Motter pop: Seattle's rookie utility man Taylor Motter continued making a splash since replacing the injured Jean Segura at shortstop, with his two-run homer in the sixth off Frankie Montas tying the game at 5. Motter has 11 hits in 10 games filling in for Segura and nine have gone for extra bases -- five doubles and four homers. His latest smash was a line shot to straightaway center projected at 411 feet by Statcast™. The 27-year-old also doubled and scored in the second in a 2-for-4 day that puts his average at .282 for the season.
"I knew I barreled it and hit it pretty good," said Motter. "It got us back in the game there. We just didn't get it done. I thought we definitely had the momentum going. It was tough to see them score in the bottom of that inning, but even then I still thought we had a chance to win that ballgame."
Plouffe, it's gone: A back-and-forth contest was seemingly settled in the seventh inning, when Plouffe -- who struck out in his first three at-bats -- stepped to the plate and belted a three-run homer to left-center field, turning a one-run lead into a four-run margin. The insurance blast came against right-hander Dan Altavilla, who gifted a pair of one-out walks to Khris Davis and Healy before watching his first-pitch fastball to Plouffe sail into the stands. It was Plouffe's third homer of the season.
"Oakland has a good team. They will battle, they put the bat on the ball, their bullpen is pretty good. They can do some things so we've got to get after it here. This is a big inner-division series and we've got to pick it up a little." -- Mariners manager Scott Servais
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Former Athletic Danny Valencia led off the ninth with a double against right-hander Santiago Casilla, marking the first hit off the veteran this season. Opponents were 0-for-17 against Casilla entering the day.
RAJAI INJURES HAMSTRING
Rajai Davis suffered a mild left hamstring injury while running to first base in his final at-bat in the eighth inning. The outfielder stayed in the game for the ninth, with the A's left with just one player (Stephen Vogt) on their bench. A's manager Bob Melvin said he would give Davis a day off Friday, and only then would he have a better idea on the severity of the injury.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma gets the start in Friday's 7:05 p.m. PT rematch with the A's. He will look to bounce back from a rough three-inning start when he allowed seven hits and six runs to the Rangers. The 36-year-old is 9-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) against the A's.
A's: The A's will have lefty Sean Manaea on the mound for the second of this four-game series against the Mariners, with first pitch at the Coliseum scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT. Manaea didn't allow a hit in his last start, but he walked five over five innings opposite Houston and was on the hook for one run. He's 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts against Seattle.