Hisashi Iwakuma earned his first victory of the season and the Mariners (15-11) clinched their sixth consecutive series win with an 8-2 rout of the Athletics in Oakland Tuesday night. Their 13th win in the past 18 games bumped them to first in the AL West (box). Essential moment
With one on and one out in the third, CF Leonys Martin hit his fifth home run of the season for a 2-0 lead against A’s starter Sonny Gray, long a Mariners nemesis.
2B Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the third for a 3-0 lead. In the seventh, Cano doubled, DH Nelson Cruz singled, and both scored on 3B Kyle Seager’s sixth home run for an 8-1 lead. After 12 hits Monday, they had 13 Tuesday. The bottom four in the lineup — Seager, 1B Adam Lind, C Steve Clevenger and Martin — each had two hits.
Iwakuma seemed to regain the command of his fastball that has been eluding him. He allowed four hits and one run. He had a two-walk inning in the second that he escaped scoreless, then cruised, throwing 88 pitches over seven innings.
Oakland ace Gray gave up seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings. His ERA is up to 4.84.
Rookie Steve Johnson made his Seattle debut the ninth. Khris Davis, the second hitter, welcomed him with a 400-foot home run to dead center.
“We said if we get four or five hitters going, it was going to be fun. Tonight was a fun game. We’re generating offense without having to depend on the middle of the lineup all the time. We’re playing good ball. Confidence is rising.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
The Mariners are 21-11 at the Oakland Coliseum since the start of the 2013 season . . . Tony Zych became the fifth Mariners reliever to be put on the disabled list. He was sent back to Seattle with a tentative diagnosis of rotator-cuff inflammation and put on the 15-day DL. He was replaced on the roster by RHP Steve Johnson from AAA Tacoma. Zych joins four other relievers on the DL: Joaquin Benoit, Charlie Furbush, Ryan Cook and Evan Scribner . . . Despite the injuries, the bullpen entered Tuesday ranked first in the majors in opponent batting average (.171), on-base percentage (.241) and WHIP (0.92) and fourth in ERA (2.41) . . .The Mariners’ 35 home runs are second in the American League, one behind Baltimore . . . SS Ketel Marte made one of the top defensive plays of the season when he lunged to his left to stab a hard grounder, dropped to his knees and made a back-handed flip to Cano to begin a double play.
The A’s swept three from the Mariners in Seattle in early April. The payback will be attempted at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday with Felix Hernandez on the mound. Hernandez (2-2, 1.38 ERA), who has dominated in Oakland, goes up against A’s starter Sean Manaea (0-0, 7.20).