OAKLAND, Calif. — On a Saturday afternoon that followed a four-homer Friday night, the Seattle Mariners produced…crickets…against Oakland right-hander Kendall Graveman in a 2-0 loss at the O.co Coliseum.
Graveman worked the first seven innings before Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Clippard completed the shutout, which stuck Felix Hernandez with his first loss to the Athletics in his last 14 starts in the East Bay.
And that, friends, is how the Mariners, now 37-44, reached the midpoint of this disappointing season.
“It’s frustrating for sure,” first baseman Logan Morrison said. “We can’t wait around expect to come back when the bullpen comes in. We’ve got to get to the starter and get to him early.”
That didn’t happen.
As for Felix, he was standard Felix. (VIDEO LINK) Not the King in top form but still pretty good in pitching around several jams and limiting the Athletics to two runs in seven innings.
“Geez, man, it was tough today,” Hernandez admitted. “That was a battle all day long…It was one of those days. There were a lot of ground-ball base-hits. They found the holes.”
In contrast, the Mariners just had no answers for Graveman, a rookie who has been on a nice roll. This marked his sixth straight start of permitting two or fewer runs.
“You think you’re getting ready to take off (after Friday night),” manager Lloyd McClendon said, “and you come out and get shut out by a guy with decent stuff but not overpowering stuff.
“In that respect, it’s a little disappointing. We should have had better at-bats the second and third times through the lineup.”
Graveman (6-4) lowered his ERA to 3.16 (VIDEO LINK) by allowing the Mariners to get themselves out. He struck out just one but allowed only five hits.
“He didn’t have great stuff,” Morrison said. “I guess he mixed it up well and hit his spots. He threw 2-0 changeups and stuff like that…We’ve got to do a better job of being more patient.”
Even so, that Mariners did have a few chances.
They trailed just 1-0 when Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz opened the seventh inning with singles. That put runners on first and second, but it came to nothing.
Kyle Seager popped to left. The runners moved to second and third on Seth Smith’s grounder to first. The inning ended when struggling Mark Trumbo flied to right.
Oakland then extended its lead later in the inning after singles by Billy Burns and Stephen Vogt put runners at first and third with no outs. The Athletics settled for just one run. On a Ben Zobrist sacrifice fly. (VIDEO LINK)
Turned out, they didn’t even need that.
Hernandez (10-5) departed after the seventh inning. Just-activated David Rollins pitched a one-two-three eighth in his big-league debut.
The Mariners’ other big chance came in the first, but they ran themselves out of the inning after Austin Jackson lined a one-out double and Cano drew a four-pitch walk.
Jackson tried to steal third (VIDEO LINK) on a 1-2 pitch to Cruz…and got thrown out. Cruz struck out on the next pitch, and the inning was over.
“It’s just a bad jump (by Jackson),” McClendon said. “You can’t go there. I understand he wants to be aggressive.The guy is slow (to the plate), but if you don’t get a good jump, you can’t go.”
Oakland also gave away an out on the bases in the first inning, but it did so after nicking Hernandez for a run.
Burns led off with a single and stole second before Vogt walked. Zobrist grounded an RBI single (VIDEO LINK) through the left side for a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners appeared to have a double play on Josh Reddick’s grounder, but the Athletics challenged the out at first — and a replay review overturned the call. That left runners at first and third with one out.
The runners held on Billy Butler line out to right before the A’s tried to steal a run by starting Reddick from first. When catcher Jesus Sucre threw to second, Vogt broke for the plate.
Shortstop Brad Miller threw home for the out.
One run. It could have been a lot worse, and the Athletics should have padded their lead after loading the bases with no outs in the second inning. Instead, they squandered the chance.
Marcus Semien struck out, Burns flied out to short center and Vogt grounded out to second. Turned out that didn’t matter either.