The Mariners refused to go away quietly, chipping away at the Oakland A’s lead to win 6-5, thanks in large part to an outstanding performance by the bullpen.
At this time in the season, with their record and what transpired in the first two innings, the reactionary assumption would be to expect the Mariners to just pack it in and call it good. After all, they were down 5-0 before their second at-bat in the game on Tuesday and were going to rely on their bullpen the rest of the way — something that doesn’t scream success.
Instead, the Mariners kept playing. They chipped away at the deficit, took the lead in the seventh and got an outstanding showing from the beleaguered bullpen in a 6-5 win over the A’s at Safeco Field.
At 58-68 on the season and playing out the string for the final 36 games, the familiar accusations include quitting or lack of effort when things go wrong.
Athletics @ Mariners,
12:40 p.m., ROOT Sports
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been steadfast in his belief in his team’s effort even as the disappointing 2015 season grinds to an end.
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“My guys are fine and they give me everything they’ve got, every day,” he said. “Some days it doesn’t look good when you don’t pitch well or you aren’t hitting and running the bases. It looks lethargic, but they are giving me everything they’ve got. I don’t worry about their effort.”
Seattle overcame another rough start from Mike Montgomery, getting home runs from Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison and the go-ahead two-run single from Austin Jackson. The bullpen worked the final 71/3 innings without allowing a run to secure the win.
After blowing a 5-0 lead on Monday by getting outscored 11-0 the rest of the way, the Mariners flipped it around on the A’s on Tuesday. Down 5-0, they started rallying in the fourth inning against A’s starter Jesse Chavez.
Cruz ignited the scoring, crushing his 38th homer of the season to lead off the inning. The home run made it 35 straight games that Cruz has reached base.
Seattle tacked on two more with two outs. Austin Jackson doubled and Morrison, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, yanked a first-pitch fastball over the wall in right field off the foul pole for a line-drive, two-run homer to cut the lead to 5-3.
“Homers are cool,” he said. “I have something to give my mom and wife to talk about. I was praying it would stay fair.”
The Mariners took the lead an inning later. Mike Zunino led off the inning with a single and came around to score on Robinson Cano’s two-out single. Jackson gave the Mariners a 6-5 lead two batters later, singling up the middle and scoring Cruz and Cano.
Montgomery had yet another inconsistent outing, pitching just 11/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits with a walk and no strikeouts. It was Montgomery’s fourth start of four innings or fewer since the All-Star break. And over his last nine outings, he’s 0-4 with an 8.33 ERA.
Lefty Edgar Olmos was solid in long relief, pitching 31/3 scoreless innings. It was enough to earn him his first big-league win.
Cano reached a personal milestone when he hustled out a bloop double in the seventh inning. It gave him 30 doubles on the season, making it 11 straight seasons with 30 doubles or more.
“I feel blessed,” he said. “Honestly, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication and support from family and friends.”