Seattle Mariners

Mariners turn tables on Athletics, rally for 6-5 victory

Seattle’s Logan Morrison, right, is congratulated by teammate Austin Jackson after Morrison hit a two-run home run — on his 28th birthday — to score Jackson during the fourth inning against Oakland on Tuesday at Safeco Field
Seattle’s Logan Morrison, right, is congratulated by teammate Austin Jackson after Morrison hit a two-run home run — on his 28th birthday — to score Jackson during the fourth inning against Oakland on Tuesday at Safeco Field The Associated Press

So, OK, the Seattle Mariners aren’t the only club capable of blowing a five-run lead against a struggling opponent. Oakland can do it, too.

The Mariners overcame another rocky start by rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery by rallying Tuesday night for a 6-5 victory over the Athletics at Safeco Field.

Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison, on his 28th birthday, hit home runs, but it was a two-run, two-out single by Austin Jackson that provided the tying and go-ahead runs.

The key, though, was a stout effort by a beleaguered bullpen, which supplied 7 2/3 scoreless innings after Montgomery’s early exit. Edgar Olmos started the shutdown with 3 2/3 innings after replacing Montgomery.

Logan Kensing and Carson Smith followed before once-again closer Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save. Olmos (1-0) got his first career victory.

It was payback.

The Mariners built a 5-0 lead Monday for Hisashi Iwakuma before the Athletics stormed back for an 11-5 victory in the series opener.

The Mariners could have made it easier on themselves. They put runners at first and third with one out in the eighth inning but came away empty when struggling Kyle Seager popped up a 3-0 pitch before Cruz struck out.

Wilhelmsen made the one-run lead hold up.

Robinson Cano reached a personal milestone with a one-out double in the seventh inning, becoming the first player in history to reach 30 in each of his first 11 seasons.

Cano is also just sixth player in history to have 30 doubles in 11 straight seasons at any point in his career. The last player to do it was Stan Musial, whom completed a 13-year run in 1958.

Smith closed out the seventh inning behind Kensing but found problems in the eighth. Billy Burns grounded a one-out single up the middle and, with two outs, stole second and went to third on Mike Zunino’s throwing error.

Brett Lawrie walked on four pitches, which put the go-ahead run on base, but Smith struck out Danny Valencia on three pitches. 

Now, regarding Montgomery: He was 4-2 with a 1.62 ERA through seven career starts after working 5 2/3 innings on July 5 in a 2-1 victory at Oakland.

And since: He is 0-4 with an 8.33 ERA in nine starts. The Mariners were winless in his previous eight starts before Tuesday’s comeback.

Burns served Montgomery’s first pitch into center field for a single and went to second on Mark Canha’s grounder to third. After Valencia drew a two-out walk, Josh Phegley punched a to left for a 1-0 lead.

Oakland took command in a four-run second.

Billy Butler and Josh Reddick opened the inning with doubles. After Reddick went to third on a wild pitch, Marcus Semien turned around a 1-2 fastball for a two-run homer.

Still, the Athletics kept coming.

Singles by Burns and Lawrie put runners at first and second with one out and finished Montgomery.

Olmos yielded a sacrifice fly to Valencia, which made it 5-0, before ending the inning. Montgomery’s final line: 1 1/3 innings, seven hits, five runs (all earned), one walk and no strikeouts.

The Mariners began their comeback when Cruz led off the fourth inning with a homer to center against Oakland starter Jesse Chavez. It also extended Cruz’s career-best streak of reaching base safely to 35 games.

Cruz’s blast was his 38th homer of the season and 11th in August — one shy of Ken Griffey Jr.’s franchise record of 12 August homers in 1997.

Chavez (7-13) retired the next two hitters, but Jackson lined a double over Burns’ head in center, and Morrison turned on a fastball for a drive to right that stayed just fair for a two-run shot.

The Mariners were back to within 5-3 — and they took the lead with a three-run sixth that knocked out Chavez.

Zunino started the inning with a single and reached third as Chavez retired the next two hitters. After Cruz walked, Cano hit a chopper that tipped off Chavez’s glove for an RBI single.

A walk to Seth Smith loaded the bases before Jackson grounded a two-run single up the middle for a 6-5 lead.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com

blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

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WEDNESDAY: Oakland (RHP Chris Bassitt: 1-5, 2.48 ERA) at Seattle (RHP Felix Hernandez: 14-8, 3.74), 12:40 p.m., Root Sports, 1030-AM, 710-AM

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