SEATTLE -- The Mariners jumped out early and held on late Monday night at Safeco Field, beating the A's, 6-5, in the first of a three-game series between the American League West rivals.
A's starter Sean Manaea was wild in the first inning, leading to Seattle's first two runs, and Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager each hit a two-run home run -- Cruz in the second inning and Seager in the eighth. Seattle starter Yovani Gallardo bent a bit but did not break, giving up three runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings for the win.
"Gallardo did a really, really good job tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. " It was probably the best fastball he's had all year. He got us deep in the game."
Manaea had issues commanding the strike zone from right out of the gate. After Mariners leadoff man Jean Segura singled to right in the first to extend his own hitting streak to 14 games, Manaea lost Guillermo Heredia and Cruz on successive walks. Two batters later, Manaea walked Danny Valencia to score one run, and he walked Ben Gamel two batters after that for the second run.
Manaea walked Segura with one out in the second, paving the way for Cruz's blast two batters later. Manaea settled down a bit after that and lasted five innings, giving up four runs on two hits while walking five and striking out seven in his first start off the disabled list, where he spent two weeks with a shoulder strain.
"First and second inning, I was just shying away from contact," Manaea said. "I was just hoping that they wouldn't hit it and trying to make things too fine when I should be out there making guys put the ball in play and trusting my defense. I just didn't do that. I finally figured it out after the second inning and had to bear down and get through whatever else I could."
The A's got on the board in the top of the fourth on Khris Davis' 11th homer of the season, a solo bolt to center field off Gallardo that put the cherry on a 12-pitch at-bat, and Stephen Vogt got the A's within 4-3 with a two-run homer in the fifth. But the Mariners' bullpen held on from that point on. Seager's blast in the eighth off Liam Hendriks gave the Mariners insurance that it would need when Seattle closer Edwin Diaz gave up two runs in the ninth and was replaced by Tony Zych, who got the final two outs to preserve the win and snap a four-game losing streak.
"I thought we had a lot of good at-bats up and down the lineup," Vogt said. "Just very frustrating that we came out on the losing end. Sporadic would be a word I would use to describe our offense. It's been very streaky, very up and down, and on a night like tonight when we did some really good things, some bad things, we've been doing that kind of all year. We just have to figure out a way to stay consistent."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cruz goes boom: Manaea had been missing bats through the first two innings, piling up walks and strikeouts, but with a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the second inning, he didn't miss Cruz's bat. Cruz lofted a high-arcing home run over the wall in straightaway center field, doubling the Mariners' lead to 4-0. The blast, Cruz's ninth of the season, left the bat at 110 mph, according to Statcast™, and traveled a projected 433 feet.
Altavilla escapes: Things didn't look great for Mariners reliever Dan Altavilla in the top of the seventh inning. He inherited the just-departed Gallardo's runners on second and third with one out and a 4-3 lead and walked the first batter he faced, Rajai Davis, on four pitches. But Altavilla, whose command struggles earlier in the season got him sent down to Triple-A Tacoma, struck out Matt Joyce and then got Jed Lowrie to ground out into an infield shift to end the threat. More >
"It was a pressure situation and it was big for me to go out there and get that under my belt, get things rolling again," Altavilla said. "But I just went right after him and it was big for the team tonight."
AN AT-BAT TO REMEMBER
Khris Davis didn't just get the A's on the board in style with his solo homer in the fourth inning that cut Seattle's lead to 4-1. He did it to cap off an incredible at-bat. After getting into a full count after five pitches, Davis fouled off the next six offerings from Gallardo before blasting one over the wall in center for his 11th homer of the year. The culmination of the 12-pitch at-bat, the long ball on a 93.2 mph two-seam fastball, was a projected 432-foot homer that left the bat at 110 mph, according to Statcast™. It snapped a 12-game, 48-at-bat homerless drought for Davis, who went deep 42 times last year.
"I think confidence-wise he needed that," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "and my guess is he'll be swinging a lot better than he was previous to that."
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's will have right-hander Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.21 ERA) on the mound for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. PT matchup with the Mariners at Safeco Field. Triggs' lone subpar start this year came opposite Seattle on April 23, when he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings..
Mariners: Seattle will throw right-hander Chase De Jong (0-3, 7.85 ERA) at the A's on Tuesday night. De Jong will be making his third Major League start. De Jong, 23, took the loss in his last start on May 11 in Toronto, giving up six earned runs on seven hits in five innings against the Blue Jays.