SEATTLE (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning, Dee Gordon had five hits, and Felix Hernandez pitched six solid innings to propel the Seattle Mariners to a 6-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
A gritty start by A’s right-hander Andrew Triggs that kept his team in a 1-1 deadlock through four taut innings at Safeco Field unraveled in the fifth. With two outs and two runners on, Cruz hammered Triggs’ first pitch over the fence in left-center to give Seattle a lead it would not relinquish.
The Mariners held on for their third consecutive victory and sixth in their last seven.
Seattle closer Edwin Diaz struck out two in a shutout ninth to notch his majors-leading 12th save, protecting a quality start by Hernandez (4-2), who gave up three runs and three hits while striking out seven and walking four.
Jed Lowrie gave Oakland a 1-0 lead in the first inning with his seventh home run of the season, but the Mariners answered in the second. After Kyle Seager led off with a ground-rule double, Mike Zunino lined a game-tying double out of the reach of A’s left fielder Matt Joyce to knot the game at 1.
Triggs and Hernandez traded scoreless innings until the pivotal bottom of the fifth. Gordon legged out a one-out infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Jean Segura worked a walk. After Robinson Cano flied out to the wall in right-center field, Cruz didn’t waste any time changing the momentum of the game, connecting on a 410-foot shot, his sixth homer of the season.
Triggs (2-1) lost for the first time in 2018 after lasting 4 2/3 innings and giving up four runs on six hits while striking out three and walking four.
The Mariners scored again in the sixth off A’s reliever Lou Trivino when Gordon’s single, his fourth hit of the night, pushed Ryon Healy to third, setting up Segura for a sacrifice fly to right field. That run proved to be crucial when the A’s clawed back in the seventh, scoring twice and chasing Hernandez in the process.
The right-hander walked Khris Davis to lead off the frame and Matt Olson doubled to right, ending Hernandez’s outing. Reliever Nick Vincent gave up a run-scoring infield single to Mark Canha and a RBI fielder’s choice to Chad Pinder before striking out Jonathan Lucroy to end the threat.
Juan Nicasio pitched a perfect eighth for the Mariners, striking out two to set it up for Diaz. Gordon, who stole two bases, singled to right in the eighth to notch his fifth hit of the night. The Mariners scored their final run of the game in that inning on Segura’s RBI groundout.
Lowrie’s homer came in his first at-bat of May. Lowrie set an A’s record for hits in April with 35.
Mariners: RHPs Erasmo Ramirez (strained right Teres Major) and Dan Altavilla (right AC joint inflammation) were placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. The Mariners recalled OF Guillermo Heredia and RHP Casey Lawrence from Triple-A Tacoma.
A’s: Welcome former Oakland starter Brett Anderson back to the team for Wednesday’s start after a recent minor league deal and four-start stint for Triple-A Nashville in which he went 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA. Anderson, a lefty, made his Major League debut at 21 for the A’s in 2009 and played for the team until 2014. He pitched for the Cubs and Blue Jays last season.
Mariners: James Paxton (1-1, 5.12 ERA) starts Wednesday’s game for Seattle and will try to build on his last start, a six-inning, 10-strikeout outing against the Indians on April 26 in which he gave up two runs on five hits in a no-decision.