Mariners offense stymied in finale with A's

Mariners offense stymied in finale with A's

Mariners offense stymied in finale with A's
SEATTLE -- In a series in which scoring was hard to come by, it was no surprise that the Mariners and A's turned in another low-scoring affair in the finale.

All the Mariners were able to muster was a single run on Wednesday afternoon at Safeco Field, dropping their sixth straight series after a 2-1 defeat to Oakland.

After scoring at least five runs in four of the six games on their most recent road trip, the Mariners managed a combined four runs during the three-game series with the A's in Seattle.

"It's frustrating because I know these guys are a much better offensive club than what we're seeing them do here at home," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I don't want to hear anything about the fences or this, that or the other, it's about what they're doing at home plate, working to put up good at-bats and hitting the ball hard."

"It's hard because no team that plays here really has the production that they would somewhere else," said catcher John Jaso, who had two of the Mariners' four hits on Wednesday. "You look at Texas, how many runs are put up on both sides when we go play at Texas? It is different places, but this still is a great place to play. The challenge is doing the best with it.

"Concentrate on hitting low line drives, hitting grounders, and that's what will beat the other teams coming in thinking that the fly balls are going to go out."

Despite the offensive struggles, the Mariners pitchers held the A's to just two hits and strung together a fourth consecutive game limiting the opponent to two runs or less. But there was not the same postgame optimism after starter Kevin Millwood was forced to exit in the third inning after experiencing discomfort in his previously injured right groin.

The veteran right-hander appeared to wince after a pitch to Kurt Suzuki with one out in the third inning. He threw two more pitches and retired Suzuki on a ground ball, but trainer Rick Griffin and Wedge immediately headed for the mound. After a brief visit, Millwood gingerly exited the game. The Mariners will re-evaluate Millwood's health Thursday.

Millwood strained his right groin on June 8, leaving his no-hit bid against the Dodgers after six innings. After missing eight days, Millwood was making his third appearance on Wednesday since the injury.

"I don't think it's anything too serious," Wedge said. "He felt some discomfort, tightened up on him a little bit. It's obvious the last couple pitches he threw, he wasn't able to get through his delivery very well. Didn't want to take any chances on it, the only thing he's going to do is stay out there and make it worse, he's not going to be able to perform."

Reliever Hisashi Iwakuma inherited a 1-1 ballgame when he entered on short notice for Millwood and pitched well through 3 2/3 innings. But the righty was pinned with the loss, as he gave up the deciding home run to Yoenis Cespedes in the seventh inning.

With one out, Cespedes went deep to left-center field, giving the A's a 2-1 lead. It was the second solo shot of the day for Oakland. Coco Crisp originally gave the A's the lead on his own blast, sending the second pitch of the game into the right-field seats for a leadoff home run.

"Two hits, two big ones," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Good teams find a way to win games like that. We've been pretty good in June offensively, and for some reason we didn't swing the bats well here at all. But you come out with two wins, you can't be upset about that."

Jaso evened the score in the second inning, putting a first-pitch fastball well over the wall in right field. It was Jaso's third home run of the season and 13th of his career.

Other than Jaso's homer, the Mariners were stymied by A's starter Jarrod Parker. Seattle managed just a pair of singles to go along with the home run off the Oakland righty, who went seven innings and struck out a career-high nine. Parker becomes the latest pitcher to shut down the Mariners offense at Safeco Field.

"I think it's kind of a mental swing, kind of a different-approach swing," Jaso said. "It is tough. You go on the road and you pop a couple out of the park and you come back here and it's not really doing it. It's just approach. It's tough, it's a big part about baseball, the mental side.

"But that's the thing about the big leagues, you have to be mentally tough. It's a game of failure and to be strong enough to get through it is what keeps people up here and what puts people up here in the first place."

Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.