The Mariners seem to have found the cure for what has ailed them the past few weeks:
Playing the Oakland A’s.
For the second time this season, the Mariners swept the Athletics in a two-game series, finishing this one off with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park.
The Mariners opened the season with a pair of victories over Oakland in Japan, which helped spur them to a 13-2 start that was fueled by good pitching and lots of power.
That was the winning formula again Tuesday as Mike Leake pitched 6 2/3 solid innings, Roenis Elias provided great relief and the Mariners hit three homers off A’s starter Brett Anderson. It is the Mariners’ first two-game winning streak since April 25-26 and the first step in trying to rebound from a 7-21 stretch after the great start.
“Nice win, coming off that road trip (when the Mariners went 2-8) to bounce back,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “Hopefully we will keep it rolling.”
It was the second straight excellent start for Leake (3-4), but this time he was rewarded after getting a loss last week in New York against the Yankees despite allowing just one run in seven innings.
Leake allowed three runs — one earned — five hits and a walk and struck out six.
“That was probably the best stuff and best outing he has had this year,” Servais said.
Leake said he thought he was better last week, but got the win with a big assist from Elias.
Leake left with a man on first and two outs, and Cory Gearrin allowed a single and a walk to load the bases. Servais brought in Elias and he struck out pinch-hitter Chad Pinder on three pitches to get the Mariners out of the jam.
Elias followed that by striking out the side in the eighth and closing the game out in the ninth by getting a double play with two runners on base.
“That’s when he is at his best, when you can run him out there and let him face 9-10-11 hitters and let him get on a roll,” Servais said. “He had really good stuff tonight. A really good outing.”
Seattle gave Leake some early run support when Daniel Vogelbach, leading off the bottom of the second inning, turned on a pitch from Anderson and lined it just over the wall down the right-field line. Three hitters later, Tim Beckham hit a shot the opposite way to right-center to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead.
The A’s tied the score with two unearned runs in the fifth inning. With runners on second and third with two outs, it appeared Leake was out of the inning when Beckham, playing second base, went to his right to corral a hard-hit ground ball by Marcus Semien.
But he skipped his throw, and when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion was unable to scoop it out of the dirt, two runs scored.
The Mariners quickly got the runs back in the bottom of the fifth. After a one-out walk to J.P. Crawford, Mitch Haniger ambushed an Anderson pitch, hitting it 428 feet into the upper deck in left field.
“He got a good pitch in a good count (3-1) and he certainly didn’t miss it,” Servais said.
That proved to be enough runs for the Mariners, thanks to Elias.
Elias said through interpreter Manny Acta that he’s “trying to go after guys and throw the ball over the plate.” Elias said he knew after he got the huge strikeout to end the seventh inning that it was his game to finish.
And when he was done, the Mariners were celebrating the elusive second straight win.
“He saved the game for us — literally,” Servais said.