An opener is supposed to be a tool or a strength for the pitching rotation, but it was quite the opposite Saturday evening. Gerson Bautista couldn’t even make it out of the first inning.
The Seattle Mariners opener was a fail, along with the A’s batting around the order in the 4th inning. The Mariners, notorious for their errors, made four to help the A’s dominate the Mariners in a 11-2 victory.
The A’s (36-35) scored three runs off two hits in the first inning after Gerson Bautista (L, 0-1, 11.25 ERA) walked Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Mark Canha to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Ramon Laureano hit a line drive to left field to bring in both Semien and Chapman for a 2-0 lead. It didn’t stop there.
Profar followed with a base-hit just over shortstop J.P. Crawford, who jumped up to make the catch and just missed it which allowed Canha to score from second and put Laureano on third with a 3-0 lead. That was the last of Bautista who had his first loss of the season and was relieved by Wade LeBlanc after just 2/3 of an inning.
Seattle (30-44) may have regretted using an opener because after just 28 pitches, Bautista had allowed three runs. He only lasted 2/3 of an inning after striking out Khris Davis. Matt Olson smashed a 108.8-mph line drive and was robbed by Daniel Vogelbach at first base. Vogelbach had to change gloves after he made the catch.
Both teams scored a run in the second inning. Mariners catcher Omar Narvaez led off the second with a walk on a full count, and Beckham hit a double to bring him in. The Mariners would only score one more time after that.
The A’s scored their run in the second off a Semien solo shot to left-field (10). Semien, with a 2-1 count, whacked a 86-mph cutter, extending both his career-high hitting streak to 12 games and the A’s 4-1 lead.
All hell broke loose in the fourth inning for the Mariners when it looked like the A’s were taking batting practice, one-by-one, down the lineup. It was a complete switch from yesterday. The A’s played sloppy ball Friday night, but the Mariners were even worse Saturday. The A’s looked like Friday night’s Mariners, but better all around.
Josh Phegley started things off with a double into the left-center gap. Semien followed with a line drive to center. A running Mallex Smith reached down to get the ball while it was rolling, and he completely missed the ball. He had to stop to retrieve it, allowing Semien to reach second on the error and Phegley to score.
Chapman stepped up to the plate and hit a line drive to the lower part of the wall in right field over Domingo Santana‘s head. Chapman slid into second for a double and Semien scored from second. Olson flied out to right-center which allowed Chapman to tag up to third. With one out, Davis had a base hit up the middle over second base to bring in Chapman for a 7-1 lead.
But it just kept getting better for the A’s. Canha came up to the plate and hit a double to center and ran so fast his helmet came off rounding second, with Davis moving to third. The Mariners met at the mound hoping to talk some change into Leblanc but he ended up being relieved a couple batters later.
Melvin on the bottom of the lineup’s success:
“Doing it from down in the line up too. You look at our production down there with Laureano, Phegley and Profar. I don’t know, it is quite a luxury to have. Guy in their mid-30’s RBIs wise sitting down in the bottom of the lineup. We literally can score any inning and I think guys realize that and there are a lot of guys on base for them too.”
Still in the fourth inning, Laureano was the next batter up and grounded into the gap between the shortstop and third baseman. Seager dove to get to the ball and, while staring down Davis at third, he dropped the ball and Laureano was safe at first with the bases loaded, still with just one out.
Profar wanted to add on, and that is exactly what he did. He hit a base hit to left that brought in both Davis and Canha to give the A’s a 9-1 lead.
Melvin on Profar:
“Even when he was struggling (Profar) when he was down in the mid-hundreds his hits were knocking runs in. Then he started hitting home runs and had some big RBI games and now every time he comes up with guys in scoring position he has a lot of confidence.”
Seattle relieved LeBlanc with Tayler Scott, who was able to get the Mariners out of the dreadful inning.
The fifth inning is when the Mariners got their second run. After a double from Moore and then with two outs, Montas gave up two base hits to Crawford and Santana which brought in Moore for a 9-2 score.
The sixth inning the Mariners defense had trouble and cut Tayler Scott’s night short. The A’s were able to score two runs both unearned after errors. Canha was pegged by Scott, then Laureano hit into a fielder’s choice and shortstop Crawford fielded Laureno’s grounder before overthrowing second into the tracks near the Mariners dugout. Canha scored from first base and Laureano made it to third. Profar hit a line drive to right field to bring in Laureano and the A’s increased their lead to 11-2.
The Mariners relived Scott with LHP Jesse Biddle with one out and a man on first and he was able to keep the A’s from scoring. He struck out Pinder and Phegley lined out to center to end the inning.
Frankie Montas was relived after six solid innings only allowing two runs off six hits. He finished the night with nine strikeouts and only walked one batter, Narvaez on a full-count. Yusmeiro Petit came in and pitched a perfect seventh. Biddle did the same, forcing Chapman into a ground ball that turned two, getting Semien out at second and then Olson grounded out to second.
Bob Melvin on A’s starting pitcher Montas:
“Starting Frankie but offensively everybody basically contributed through the line and got some big hits and added on. Did all the things you would like to in a game like that and Frankie did his thing. It seems kinda like it is a typical game for him now, six innings, one walk, nine strikeouts. He pitched well again.”
Joakim Soria came in to pitch in the ninth inning and just like all the other relievers, he didn’t allow a single run. Montas got the win and Bautista had his first loss of the season.