SEATTLE (AP) — Things fell apart in a hurry for Oakland’s usually reliable bullpen Tuesday night.
Closer Ryan Madson allowed a game-ending, two-run homer to Leonys Martin in the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 6-5 comeback victory over the Athletics.
Martin’s blast completed a four-run rally in the final two innings against the A’s, who were 15-1 when leading after eight innings.
Madson (2-1) came on in the ninth and got two quick outs before Norichika Aoki punched a double down the left field line.
Madson fed Martin too many offspeed pitches, and the outfielder drilled a 1-2 pitch deep over the wall in right-center for his ninth home run and Seattle’s ninth victory in its last 10 one-run games.
“I slowed him down with four changeups in a row,” said Madson, who had saved 11 of 12 opportunities. “The last one was pretty much right down the middle. That’s the frustrating part, is the location of the last one. I’ve gone four in a row before, but you make the fourth one the best one. That’s not what happened tonight.”
Seattle trailed 5-2 after seven innings, but John Axford came on and allowed a pinch-hit double to Franklin Gutierrez and a booming two-run homer by Robinson Cano, his 13th, to make it 5-4.
“Those two runs were big,” said Axford, who walked the only other hitter he faced. “I mean, Madson can give up two runs in the ninth if I’d just get somebody out. If I do my job in the eighth inning, we have a three-run lead, we’d still have a cushion.”
The bullpen collapse negated an earlier comeback by the A’s, who jumped on the Mariners bullpen in the sixth inning to complete a four-run rally, capped by Coco Crisp’s bases-loaded double off Mike Montgomery for a 5-2 lead.
Montgomery (2-0) wasn’t charged with the runs and finished the game with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
“Our team put together a really good effort. Offensively, we did what we needed to do, came around with a big inning, four runs,” Axford said.
“I just didn’t do my job. I didn’t get anybody out,” he added. “I didn’t do anything right and I think that is what ultimately cost us right there.”
Cano put the Mariners up 1-0 in the first, following a one-out single by Seth Smith with an RBI double to left-center.
Crisp brought the A’s even in the third with his fourth homer, a one-out solo shot to right off starter Nathan Karns.
“We had a lead with our three best guys coming into the game,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Axford gave up a couple. Madson gave up a couple. It’s going to happen sometimes.”
BETTER OUTING FOR GRAVEMAN
Oakland starter Kendall Graveman allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, but that was an improvement over his previous five starts in which he was 0-5 with a 7.92 ERA. The A’s are 14-26 when the starter goes less than seven innings, and 6-1 when the starter goes seven or more.
A’s: 2B Jed Lowrie, on the DL with a bruised shin, was 1 for 4 in a rehab appearance on Monday for Triple-A Nashville. He is scheduled to be activated Wednesday and in the lineup. “I think as far as the psychology goes, we’ve been subtracting, and now we’re on the verge of having a couple additions,” Melvin said. “I think that will certainly be welcome. I know Jed’s looking forward to getting back in the lineup.”
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte said his injured left thumb continues to improve, but he’s being cautious. “It’s better than yesterday,” said Marte, who is on the 15-day DL. “It’s hard, because I want to play.”
A’s: Zach Neal will be called up Wednesday from Nashville to make his first major league start. The right-hander was 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts with the Sounds. He was previously called up May 11 for one game and made his debut with three innings of relief against the Red Sox, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings.
Mariners: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (2-4, 4.39 ERA) is 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA in four starts in May after going 0-3 in five starts in April. In his only start against the A’s this season, he allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings in an 8-2 victory.