Facing two of baseball’s best pitchers on back-to-back days was more than the struggling Oakland Athletics’ offense could deal with.
After Seattle’s Felix Hernandez stumped the A’s on Friday, Hisashi Iwakuma quieted Oakland’s bats in the Mariners’ 6-2 victory on Saturday night.
Iwakuma pitched a career-high 8 2-3 innings and fanned five of the first six batters he retired en route to eight strikeouts overall. The right-hander allowed five hits and faced the minimum in all but three innings.
“Obviously, you hate getting beat by those guys. We get beat by them quite a bit,” Oakland’s Brandon Moss said. “They’re a really good one-two. They’re a tough at-bat, for sure. They get you thinking about things that you probably shouldn’t be thinking about because you’re thinking about what their ball is going to do.
“You’re trying to map it out in your head where you want it to start, and it’s like they’re always one pitch ahead of you.”
The A’s got only one man to second in the first eight innings and were held scoreless until Moss’ two-out, two-run home run off Iwakuma in the ninth, which snapped his 20-inning scoreless streak.
“Our offense, we’ve not been as good as we certainly have for the better part of the half,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Coco (Crisp) is out, (Josh) Reddick is out, (Alberto) Callaspo is out now … and struggling some in the middle of the order.
“It has been a bit of a fight to score a bunch of runs. And on top of that, two well-pitched games against us.”
In his last three starts, Iwakuma is 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA (3 earned runs in 21 2-3 innings), 25 strikeouts and no walks. Despite falling an out shy of his first career complete game, the right-hander got plenty of run support in the form of a pair of home runs.
Kyle Seager’s fifth-inning home run – a two-run shot – was his 15th of the season, and 13th at Safeco Field. His 42 RBIs in 47 home games lead the American League. Robinson Cano added an eighth-inning, three-run home run – his seventh of the season – to give the Mariners a 6-0 lead.
Oakland starter Jesse Chavez allowed three runs and a career-high 10 hits. He walked two and struck out six in 5 2-3 innings.
“He battled,” Melvin said. “He gave up some hits, but really just the Seager home run was the big blow.”
Dustin Ackley gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the second with a single that scored Corey Hart from second. Hart came within feet of hitting a home run, but the ball caromed off the top of the wall in left-center field, and the Seattle designated hitter settled for a double.
A’s left fielder Yoenis Cespedes threw out Willie Bloomquist trying to score from second in the eighth. It was Cespedes’ major league-leading 11th outfield assist this year, and his 30th since 2012.
NOTES: Oakland’s Stephen Vogt extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the sixth. … Oakland OF Josh Reddick (strained right knee) is scheduled to start playing rehab games in the next couple days. … Oakland LHP Drew Pomeranz (broken right hand) allowed a run and one hit, and struck out seven in four innings during a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento. … Seattle LHP James Paxton (shoulder soreness) threw a three-inning simulated game and is expected to start for Single-A Everett on Thursday. … Seattle’s Chris Young and Oakland’s Sonny Gray will face off Sunday in the series finale.
Updated July 13, 2014