Seattle Mariners

Mariners muscle up for four homers in 9-5 romp over Athletics

Nelson Cruz connects on a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Mariners a 6-3 lead over the A’s on Friday night in Oakland. Logan Morrison, Seth Smith and Brad Miller also slugged two-run homers for Seattle.
Nelson Cruz connects on a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Mariners a 6-3 lead over the A’s on Friday night in Oakland. Logan Morrison, Seth Smith and Brad Miller also slugged two-run homers for Seattle. The Associated Press

So, do you like fireworks to mark the nation’s birthday? How about four two-run homers Friday night by the Seattle Mariners in a 9-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

OK … yes, it was July 3. But the A’s had a full house of 35,067 on hand at the Coliseum, partly in anticipation of postgame fireworks to mark Independence Day.

Close enough.

“It wasn’t like we came out of the gate swinging,” Mariners shortstop Brad Miller said. “(Oakland starter Jesse) Chavez did a really nice job. I just thought we stayed in it. And I like how we added on there at the end.”

The Mariners trailed 3-0 when Logan Morrison started the comeback with a two-run homer in the third inning against Chavez. They took the lead on Seth Smith’s two-run bomb against Chavez in the sixth,

Nelson Cruz and Miller hit two-run homers in the seventh inning against reliever Evan Scribner that turned the game into a rout. The victory, by the way, prevented the Mariners from falling into last place.

“We bounced back real nice today,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “That’s a big one, particularly after falling down 3-0. Our guys showed a lot of resilience and kept fighting. It was a good win for us.”

J.A. Happ (4-5) rebounded from a three-run second inning by retiring 14 of the last 16 batters he faced through the sixth. Mark Lowe inherited a one-run lead to start the seventh.

It was a six-run lead when Charlie Furbush pitched the eighth. Carson Smith, who hadn’t pitched since Sunday, wobbled through a two-run ninth inning before closing out the victory.

“I didn’t have my best stuff,” Smith said. “I left a couple of balls up, and they got a couple of hits.”

But with a six-run lead, the only real damage was to Smith’s ERA, which jumped from 1.45 to 1.97.

“He had four days off,” McClendon said. “He was a little rusty. We needed to get him in there. We needed to get Furbush in. It was nice to get the rust off.”

Happ snapped a nine-start winless streak that included losses in his previous four outings. He gave up eight hits in six innings, but didn’t walk anyone and struck out five.

It was just nice, Happ admitted, not to be frustrated.

“I did not want to tell you guys that today,” he told a media scrum. “No, it feels good, definitely. A nice outburst. A nice outburst throughout the game, and especially at the end, by our offense.”

Chavez (4-8) kept the game close in limiting the Mariners to four runs in 61/3 innings, but Scribner took a beating after replacing Eric O’Flaherty following Robinson Cano’s leadoff single in the seventh.

The Mariners trailed 3-2 in the sixth inning when Kyle Seager lined a two-out single into center. Seth Smith then worked the count full against Chavez before turning on a 92-mph fastball.

“I hit it good with some backspin and some trajectory,” said Smith, who played for the Athletics in 2012-13. “You never know anywhere, really, but especially a park like this.

“But I figured unless something crazy happened, it was going to find its way out.”

The 393-foot drive easily cleared the right-field wall, and the Mariners had a 4-3 lead.

Cano then opened the eighth with a single, his third hit. In came Scribner, and Cano immediately stole second; his second steal of the year.

Cruz followed by crushing an 0-2 fastball for a no-doubt homer to right-center. It was his 21st homer of the season, and the Mariners led 6-3 — and they weren’t done.

Kyle Seager doubled past third and went to third on Smith’s grounder to third. Seager scored when first baseman Stephen Vogt boosted Dustin Ackley’s grounder.

Miller then rocked a two-run homer and, that quickly, a one-run lead had turned into 9-3.

It didn’t start well.

The Athletics jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second inning after two tough-hop grounders resulted in one-out singles off the gloves of Morrison at first base and Miller at short.

Mark Canha drove an RBI single into right and took second when Mark Trumbo threw home. Marcus Semien’s high chopper to short produced another run when Miller had to go to first for the out.

Oakland pushed its lead to 3-0 when Billy Burns’ soft floater into right fell for an RBI double.

“That second inning seemed like (what’s happened lately),” Happ said. “Some weird things took place there, but you’ve got to keep going. We got out of it, and then I tried to put up some zeroes.

The Mariners answered immediately.

Mike Zunino led off the third inning with a single through the left side, and Morrison followed by putting a 428-foot charge into a first-pitch change-up for a two-run homer to center.

The comeback was under way.