Manaea steadies somewhat as A’s eclipse .500

For the first time in 356 days, the Oakland Athletics are above .500.

Behind a second straight solid start from Sean Manaea, the A’s (9-8) handed Hisashi Iwakuma a rare Oakland defeat, claiming a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners Friday night, their fourth win in a row.

Manaea (1-1, 4.43 ERA) was once again locked in a battle with the man in the mirror, walking three more in six innings. He has now issued 12 free passes in 22-1/3 innings of work this season after walking just 37 in 144-2/3 frames in a year ago.

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) throws a pitch in the first inning as the Seattle Mariners face the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, April 21, 2017.

When he was in the strike zone, however, he was once again tough, holding the Mariners (6-10) to five hits and a single run while striking out six.

But, as part of his early-season lapses, finishing innings continues to be the problem — allowing the M’s to score their only run after two outs were recorded in the third Manaea has now surrendered eight of his 13 total runs with two down.

The “Throwin’ Samoan” backed himself into a similar corner in the sixth, serving up a single and a walk with two outs in the inning. With reliever Ryan Dull warming on “red alert” Manaea blew away Seattle’s slugging shortstop Taylor Motter to end his evening on a high note.

The offense took care of their young lefty tonight, six days after he held the Houston Astros hitless through five only to suffer a no decision.

Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso (17) rounds the bases after a home run in the sixth inning as the Seattle Mariners face the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, April 21, 2017.

A solo home run (3) from Yonder Alonso in the sixth was enough to give Manaea his first win of the season, though catcher Stephen Vogt gave his guy a touch of insurance with a sacrifice fly later in the same inning.

The A’s opened their scoring one inning prior when Trevor Plouffe launched his own solo jack (4) giving the third baseman a homer in three straight games. It was also a career milestone for Plouffe — home run No. 100.

Iwakuma (L, 0-2, 5.31 ERA) came into the contest with a 6-1 record and 3.12 ERA in seven career starts at Oakland. He was once again solid, holding an offense that had scored nine runs in each of its last two games to three runs in 5-1/3.

On deck

The A’s and Mariners get after it again in a Saturday afternoon affair. Manager Bob Melvin will give the ball to Jharel Cotton (1-2, 5.40 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in two starts at home this season. Ariel Miranda will get the assignment for the visiting club. He brings a 1.69 ERA (one earned runs in 5-1/3 innings) against the green and gold.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.