Mariners starer Joe Wieland never made it out of the bottom of the sixth, giving up three runs — the difference in the Mariners’ 6-3 loss to Oakland on Friday night.
OAKLAND — Joe Wieland had successfully weathered the first-inning storm of hits, runs and nerves. And his teammates had done enough on offense to turn what seemed like a loss into yet another come-from-behind win opportunity.
But that possibility and the Mariners’ six-game winning streak ended on Friday night at sparsely populated Oakland Coliseum. Given a fresh outlook in the sixth inning and having retired eight straight batters coming into it, Wieland never made it out of the bottom of the inning, giving up three runs — the difference in the Mariners’ 6-3 loss to Oakland on Friday night.
Seattle dropped to 60-54 and fell two games behind Boston for the second wild-card spot.
“It was just one of those games where when we tied it I was hoping we’d get a little more energy there and boost us forward, but they got us in the sixth,” manager Scott Servais.
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Any energy gained from tying the score in the top of the sixth was short-lived.
With Wieland’s pitch count manageable and having worked four consecutive scoreless innings prior, Servais elected not to go to his bullpen to start the bottom of the inning, believing Wieland would make it through. With Nick Vincent unavailable from usage and James Paxton’s upcoming start in Anaheim still uncertain, there weren’t as many options as expected after a day off Thursday.
“We can’t cover up the sixth inning every night,” Servais said. “You will 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, even though he had to get through the meat of the order, so to speak. … I was glad the way he competed.”
Wieland gave up a soft single to Marcus Semien and bloop single to Stephen Vogt. Khris Davis, who had homered off Wieland earlier in the game, launched a shot to left-center that bounced off the wall. It was only a single because Semien had to hold at second base to see if the ball would be caught by Leonys Martin, who looked to be tracking it for a catch near the wall.
With the bases loaded and Drew Storen warming up, Servais stayed with Wieland to face the left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso. Had it been a right-hander at the plate, Servais might have gone to Storen. Wieland got up 1-2 on Alonzo, but couldn’t put him away, leaving a two-strike changeup out over the plate. Alonzo pulled it through the infield into right field to score two runs and give Oakland a 5-3 lead.
“I made one bad pitch,” Wieland said. “That changeup to Alonzo … that ball was a little bit up. I think if that ball is below the zone, he swings through it and it’s a completely different inning.”
Servais then pulled Wieland for Storen. But he couldn’t limit the damage, giving up a single to Danny Valencia that scored Davis.
The Mariners had no more rally magic after that outburst, going scoreless against the A’s bullpen trio of Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull and Ryan Madson, who each worked a scoreless inning with Madson notching his 24th save.
Wieland allowed six runs in five-plus innings on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts to take the loss. Called up from Class AAA Tacoma, Wieland was making his first big-league start since Sept. 9, 2015.
“They jumped on Joe in the first, but I give him credit,” Servais said. “He recovered and got on a nice little roll. He ran into trouble in the sixth trying to get through that lineup one more time tonight. We didn’t have a lot going offensively.”
It wasn’t an ideal beginning for Wieland in his first start with Seattle. He got leadoff hitter Coco Crisp to fly out, but then gave up a single to Marcus Semien, an RBI double into the right-field corner to Stephen Vogt and a two-run, opposite-field homer to Khris Davis.
“There were some nerves,” he said. “The first couple pitches were just trying to settle in. But after that it was just another start.”
Wieland settled down while the Mariners offense chipped away against A’s starter Shawn Manaea. The Mariners broke through in the fifth on Kyle Seager’s 22nd homer of the season — a solo shot to right field.
Seattle tied it an inning later. Ketel Marte led off with a single and scored on Shawn O’Malley’s triple to right-center. Franklin Gutierrez tied the score with a deep sacrifice fly to right field.