After scoring 12 runs in two games in San Diego, the Mariners apparently exhausted themselves. Or Oakland starter Scott Kazmir is back to being a stud. The A’s lefty smothered the Mariners, allowing only two hits by LF Franklin Gutierrez, in an easy 4-0 win Thursday night (box score) in front of 13,062 at the Coliseum, witnessing the start of a four-game pillow fight to stay out of last in the American League West.
All the result needed was one shaky inning from Mariners starter Roenis Elias, who in the first gave up a walk and two doubles, the last one by Josh Phegley, to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Except for Gutierrez, who had both hits and brought a .389 career average against Kazmir, the Mariners could do nothing with the lefty, who went eight innings and allowed three runners, one as far as second, and had seven strikeouts.
Besides the two first-inning runs, Elias gave up a fifth-inning homer to Marcus Semien, but otherwise pitched credibly over six innings, which included seven strikeouts and one walk among 104 pitches. Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a run in the seventh on a triple by Mark Canha.
Kazmir had a 1.63 home ERA as part of the No. 1 starting staff in the American League.
“Kazmir is traditionally tough on us. Tonight he was on his game. He had all his pitches going and kept us of balance most of the night. I still believe we’re coming out of this” — Manager Lloyd McClendon on the A’s starter
“Elias gave us what he could considering 32 pitches in the first. Those two runs cost him the ballgame. He threw the ball OK, but any time you throw 104 through six, you’re not quite cruising through the game” — McClendon
SS Chris Taylor, called up from AAA Tacoma Thursday, started at short while Brad Miller sat against Kazmir until pinch-hitting in the ninth. “It’s still a progression, but I’m feeling a lot more comfortable and a lot better (at the plate),” Taylor told MLB.com of his hitting .289 in Tacoma but .159 in 11 games with the Mariners earlier in the year. “It was good to go down there and take some of the pressure off. I was able to stop pressing and just worry about going out there and having some fun again. I’m feeling a lot better now and I’m ready to go.” . . . Veteran RHP Justin Germano, who went 7-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) for Tacoma, exercised a June 30 opt-out clause in his minor league contract is now a free agent. LHP Rafael Perez, another veteran with a June 30 opt-out clause, was also released. He was on loan to the Mexican League . . . The previous three Mariners starters were 2-0 with just three hits allowed and 22 strikeouts. Their 21-inning scoreless streak is the longest single-season scoreless streaks by starters since a 25-inning streak May 19-22, 2011. The club record is the 2001 staff that had a stretch of 38.2 consecutive scoreless innings by starts Sept. 8-20, 2001.
J.A. Happ (3-5, 3.89 ERA) goes against Oakland’s Jesse Chavez (4-7, 3.02) at 6:05 p.m. Friday at the Coliseum.