SEATTLE (AP) — Rich Hill pitched eight innings to win his fourth straight start, Stephen Vogt hit a leadoff homer in the seventh inning to snap a scoreless tie and the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 5-0 on Monday night to end a four-game skid.
Taijuan Walker (2-4) held Oakland to two hits through six innings, but then Vogt opened the seventh by driving a 3-1 pitch deep over the right field wall for his fourth homer.
Hill (7-3) allowed six hits over the first three innings, then retired 14 consecutive batters before Chris Taylor’s bloop single to shallow center with one out in the eighth. Hill allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked none, throwing 81 of 107 pitches for strikes.
The A’s broke it open with four unearned runs in the eighth, aided by two throwing errors from shortstop Taylor, called up Sunday to replace injured Ketel Marte. Taylor threw wildly past first base on Marcus Semien’s bouncer for a two-base error. After Chris Coghlan struck out, Jake Smolinski lined an RBI single to left to make it 2-0.
Coco Crisp then also reached on a throwing error by Taylor, and later, Danny Valencia lined Joel Peralta’s first pitch into the left field corner for a two-run double that made it 5-0.
Walker, who has not won in five starts since his last victory on April 25, allowed a leadoff single in the first to Crisp, but then retired 16 straight before Smolinski’s one-out bloop single in the sixth. Walker allowed five runs — one earned — on four hits in 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season.
The Mariners loaded the bases with no one out in the second, but Hill worked out of the jam by striking out Chris Iannetta, getting a force out at home on Norichika Aoki’s fielder’s choice bouncer to first and striking out Taylor.
NEAL TO START
Right-hander Zach Neal, 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Nashville, will be called up to start Wednesday for the A’s in the finale of the three-game series against Seattle. Neal takes the place of RHP Sonny Gray, who went on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a strained right trapezius.
Neal made one earlier appearance with the A’s this season, allowing one run in three innings of relief in Boston.
“That can be a place that can be tough for your major league debut,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He gave us three innings, he was aggressive, liked the movement on his fastball, compliment of pitches.”
A’s: OF Josh Reddick will not need surgery on his fractured left thumb. Melvin said the injury is on the tip of the thumb, rather than at a joint, and there’s no displacement.
... RHP Henderson Alvarez, who experienced discomfort last week in his surgically repaired shoulder, was cleared to begin playing catch on Tuesday. “My feeling is he wouldn’t be playing catch tomorrow if there was something structurally in there that they had a problem with,” Melvin said.
Mariners: Marte, placed on the 15-day DL after spraining his left thumb on Saturday, said his thumb is improving, but he’s still unable to grip a bat. “It feels a lot better,” Marte said. “It’s serious, because if you can’t do anything with your hand, you can’t play baseball.” Manager Scott Servais said he did not anticipate Marte doing any type of baseball activity on this homestand.
A’s: Right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-6, 5.48 ERA) is 0-5 with a 7.92 ERA in his last five starts. Opponents are batting .361 against him over that span. He is 1-11 in his last 16 starts dating back to July 10 of last season. He has allowed nine home runs in 19 1/3 innings on the road this season.
Mariners: Right-hander Nathan Karns (4-1, 3.33 ERA) has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his first eight starts, lasting at least five innings each time out. He has not lost since his first start on April 9.