The Joe Wieland gambit blew up Friday on the Mariners as their six-game winning streak ended in a 6-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
The Mariners summoned Wieland, a nine-year pro with limited big-league experience, earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the hole created in their rotation by the decision to demote Taijuan Walker to the minors.
Wieland responded by digging a three-run hole just four batters into the Oakland first inning and, after the Mariners erased that deficit, surrendering three more runs without retiring a batter in the sixth inning.
The Mariners couldn’t climb out of a second three-run hole.
Khris Davis’ two-run homer capped Oakland’s three-run first inning, while Yonder Alonso’s two-run single finished Wieland (0-1) in the sixth.
"I’ll tell you," Wieland said, "I think I made one bad pitch. Khris Davis in the first inning, he hit a good pitch out. It was down and away, and I just tip my cap to him.
"But that change-up to Alonso in the sixth inning, that ball was a little bit up."
Wieland gave up six runs and nine hits in five-plus innings.
"They jumped on Joe in the first," manager Scott Servais said, "but I’ll give him credit. He recovered and got on a nice little roll there. He just ran into trouble in the sixth, trying to get through that lineup one more time."
The Mariners didn’t have a hit against Oakland starter Sean Manaea (4-7) until two outs in the fifth inning, when Kyle Seager pulled a drive to right with just enough carry to clear the wall for his 22nd homer.
But they pulled even in the sixth inning after Ketel Marte led off with a single, and Shawn O’Malley followed with a drive into the right-center gap that got past a diving Coco Crisp with an RBI triple.
The Athletics shortened their infield — but it didn’t matter when Franklin Gutierrez sent a sacrifice fly to deep right.
"We didn’t have a lot offensively going tonight," Servais said. "It was just one of those games. You’re hoping, when we tied it, we’d get a little energy there."
Instead, the Athletics struck back immediately against Wieland, who had followed his shaky start with four strong innings. But Marcus Semien and Stephen Vogt started the Oakland sixth inning with singles.
Davis sent a fly to deep left-center field that caromed off the wall — but it resulted in only a single because the runners had to hold up to make sure it wasn’t caught. That left the bases loaded with no outs.
It was a temporary reprieve.
Alonso pulled a two-run single through the right side that finished Wieland. Oakland led 5-3 and still had runners at first and third with no outs.
Danny Valencia drove Drew Storen’s first pitch into left field for an RBI single that made it 6-3, but Storen finished the inning with no further damage.
The Athletics’ bullpen protected the lead with Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull and Ryan Madson each delivering one scoreless inning. Madson got his 25th save in 31 chances.
The loss dropped the Mariners to 60-54 and cost them a game in the American League wild-card chase; they now trail Boston by two games for the final postseason berth.
It didn’t take Wieland long to run into trouble.
Semien collected the first of his four singles on a one-out liner to left in the first inning. He came around when Vogt pulled an RBI double into the right-field corner.
Davis then lofted a two-run homer over the right-field wall for a 3-0 lead.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Robinson Cano offered an extended protest to umpire Marty Foster when called out on a swinging strike in the fourth inning.
Cano argued that he tipped the ball and that it hit the ground before catcher Stephen Vogt made the catch. Foster listened to the protest from Cano and manager Scott Servais but didn’t change the call.
PLUS: Shawn O’Malley went 2-for-3 with a walk in four plate appearances. He is batting .291 (16-for-55) in his last 16 games…Vidal Nuno pitched two scoreless innings, which lowered his ERA to 2.86…Kyle Seager is batting .435 (10-for-23) in his last six games.
MINUS: Joe Wieland put the Mariners in two three-run holes…the Mariners finished with just four hits and never had an at-bat with runners in scoring position.
STAT PACK: The Mariners, by losing, missed a chance to tie a franchise record. They had won seven straight games at the Oakland Coliseum prior to Friday’s loss. Their record remains eight in a row from July 6, 2007 to April 17, 2008. The franchise record for a road winning streak at any venue is 12 straight in Anaheim from April 14, 2001 to April 11, 2002.
QUOTABLE: Asked why he stuck with Joe Wieland when the Athletics began stirring in the sixth inning, manager Scott Servais said: "We can’t cover up the sixth inning every night, You’ll run out of pitchers in your bullpen.
"I know it’s his first start with us this year, but we felt good about where he was at."
SHORT HOPS: The season series is even at 5-5 with nine games remaining…the Mariners’ last 13 games have been decided by three or fewer runs. They are 9-4 in that span…the Athletics are 14-13 since the All-Star break.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners