The chance to create one of the greatest road trips in club history faded in the East Bay twilight of a long day, the Mariners unable to muster a second comeback win over Oakland in the same afternoon, losing 2-0 after a reserves-filled lineup managed just three hits. But the road trip was a huge success, winning seven of nine, including three of four against the division-leading A’s.
Following a 6-4 triumph in the first game, the Mariners were stymied by Oakland starter Drew Pomeranz. Sitting Corey Hart, Mike Zunino and James Jones, Seattle got nothing going against the tough left-hander making his first start of the season.
Making a spot start out of the bullpen, Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45 ERA) allowed two hits over five innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone.
The Athletics opened the scoring for the first time in the four-game series. In the third inning, Craig Gentry reached on an infield single and scored when left fielder Cole Gillespie and shortstop Brad Miller were unable to corral a shallow pop fly off the bat of Jed Lowrie. In the fourth inning, Yoenis Cespedes hit his sixth homer of the season, a solo shot over the left field wall.
That was all the scoring Oakland (20-15) mustered against Erasmo Ramirez, who was recalled from AAA Tacoma to make the start. Ramirez looked much sharper than he has in five previous starts. In 24 earlier innings, Ramirez posted a 6.75 ERA with a 20-11 strikeout to walk ratio. That led manager Lloyd McClendon to demoting the right-hander near the end of April.
Wednesday, Ramirez (1-4, 6.00 ERA) pitched six solid innings of six-hit, two-run ball. He walked one and struck out four on 105 pitches. His work allowed the Mariners to rest most of their bullpen. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched two scoreless innings.
Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his second save for Oakland.
While the loss snapped the Mariners’ five-game winning streak and prevented the team from sweeping a four-game series against Oakland for the first time in franchise history, they did move within two games of the first-place Athletics.
The Mariners begin Monday a seven-game homestand, four against the Kansas City Royals and three vs. Tampa Bay Rays.