Mariners 4, Athletics 2
This was the kind of 1-2 pitching punch the Seattle Mariners
Just not from guys named Fister and Vargas.
Jason Vargas threw six innings for Seattle, and Milton Bradley
and Franklin Gutierrez came through with bat-shattering run scoring
hits in the Mariners 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on
A day after Doug Fister tossed eight scoreless innings, Vargas
did his part as the back of the Mariners rotation gave Seattle its
first series victory of the young season.
“He’s got great poise on that mound,” Seattle manager Don
Wakamatsu said. “He makes one mistake early giving up a home run
to center field, but he battled and fought back.”
Vargas (1-1) might be a placeholder until Cliff Lee returns from
the disabled list and gives Seattle arguably the best Nos. 1 and 2
starters in the American League with Felix Hernandez.
Until then, though, Vargas and Fister have so far been just
Vargas’ only mistake was a middle-of-the-zone fastball that Jake
Fox hit for a two-run homer to center in the second inning – a ball
Gutierrez felt he could have robbed if he hadn’t been playing so
shallow. The homer was Fox’s first of the season, snapping an 0 for
Otherwise, Vargas scattered five hits, struck out six and walked
none. He set down nine of the final 10 batters he faced, and
Seattle starters have now gone 14 innings without allowing a
Vargas started using a cut fastball again on Wednesday, a pitch
he shelved last year as he recovered from hip surgery in favor of
gaining better control of his breaking ball.
“For me to be able to go back to it didn’t take a whole lot of
time,” Vargas said. “A couple of bullpen sessions with it and
tonight was really the first time we used it.”
Seattle reliever Brandon League worked a scoreless seventh and
eighth innings and David Aardsma converted his fourth save – he’s
closed all of Seattle’s wins – with a perfect ninth. Aardsma has
converted 14 straight saves since last August.
Oakland got just one baserunner after the fourth inning.
“Last night I thought (Fister) really located well, pitched
well,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “Today, I thought we had
some opportunities where we didn’t hit the pitches we should have
As well as Vargas threw, he was left looking for a little
offensive help until the Mariners bats started coming up with
clutch, two-out hits.
Bradley was first. Down 2-0 in the fifth, he dumped the first
pitch from Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez into left field, sending
his bat barrel nearly to third base. The hit scored two and
Gutierrez’s hit an inning later scored Adam Moore with the go-ahead
Bradley, on his eighth big league team, finally made a mark with
the Mariners on Tuesday night with a game-winning three-run homer
in the eighth inning. But he was drawing the ire of fans after just
one at-bat on Wednesday.
Bradley rounded third too far after Moore’s infield hit in the
second and was tagged out during a rundown between third and home
for the Mariners’ second base-running blunder of the inning.
The cheers were back a few innings later. Seattle loaded the
bases on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki and walks to Chone
Figgins and Gutierrez. Jose Lopez fouled out behind third, but
Bradley muscled Gonzalez’s first offering into left.
An inning later, Moore led off with a single and moved to second
on Figgins’ two-out walk off reliever Chad Gaudin (0-1).
Gutierrez’s single to left was picked clean by Eric Patterson, but
he bobbled getting the ball from his glove and the lumbering Moore
beat the throw home. Lopez then followed with another single to
“These guys are playing hard and the key was after those two
baserunning mistakes they didn’t give up and kept playing hard and
played a good ball game,” Wakamatsu said.
NOTES: Suzuki snapped an 0 for 13 skid with a 45-foot dribbler
up the first-base line in the fifth inning. … Seattle swapped
starters for the weekend, pushing RHP Ian Snell back to Sunday and
moving LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith to Saturday. Snell has been out of
town after a death in his family. … Oakland INF Mark Ellis missed
his third straight game with a strained hamstring, but Geren said
he is improving. … The crowd of 15,978 was second-smallest in
Safeco Field history.