Mariners rally twice to top Athletics

BY foxsports • April 12, 2009

It didn't take long for Jose Lopez to find himself in a pressure situation.

An inning after entering for injured teammate Wladimir Balentien, Lopez hit a two-run double off Oakland Athletics closer Brad Zeigler in a four-run eighth inning to help the Seattle Mariners rally from two deficits for an 8-5 victory Saturday.

"I just wanted to get one run in somehow," Lopez said. "I had a great swing and got the ball around on an inside strike."

Kenji Johjima also had a two-run hit in the inning.

"We've seen him enough last year to know about him," Lopez said of Zeigler. "When you're on the bench you have to be ready for anything."

Balentien left the game with a sprained left wrist. He was injured diving for a ball in the bottom of the first but stayed in the game until after hitting in the sixth.

"It was painful when I swung the bat," he said. "I told the trainer because I didn't want to get worse."

Russell Branyan homered and Franklin Gutierrez drove in two runs for the Mariners, who won their third straight. Mike Sweeney added an RBI single in the ninth.

Seattle's eighth-inning rally began when Bobby Crosby, making his debut at third base, mishandled Sweeney's grounder leading off. Adrian Beltre singled and Casilla walked Branyan to load the bases.

Ziegler took over and gave up Lopez's two-run double and Johjima's two-run single.

Miguel Batista (1-0) pitched two innings in relief of Felix Hernandez. Brandon Morrow recorded three outs for his second save, striking out Nomar Garciaparra to end the game.

"I was a big fan of his when he was with the Red Sox," said Morrow of his first encounter with Garciaparra. "I wore No. 5 in high school but I didn't play much shortstop. He was my favorite shortstop at that point though."

Jack Cust hit a two-run homer and Landon Powell got his first major league hit, a two-run double for the A's, who lost their second straight.

"It was kind of hard to sleep last night," Powell said. "I was a little anxious and ready to go. I couldn't get to the park soon enough. It was kind of a cool moment to get out there and get that hit."

Santiago Casilla (0-1) allowed three runs - two earned - in one-plus innings.

Hernandez had his worst start against the A's and allowed more than one run for the first time in one of his first two starts of a season. He gave up seven hits and five runs in five innings, walking two and striking out eight. Hernandez has beaten the A's in six of his previous eight starts.

"I think his ankle was bothering him a little bit," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "You could see him favor it a little bit on a couple pitches. I don't think it was a huge issue but it was enough to throw his mechanics off."

A's starter Josh Outman lasted 4 1-3 innings, yielding three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three.

"I settled in early and hit my spots," Outman said. "Later on in the game I kind of got away from that, missing pitches and not throwing breaking balls for strikes."

The A's scored three times in the second. Cust and Mark Ellis walked around Travis Buck's strikeout and Powell doubled in two runs. Ryan Sweeney singled and Orlando Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly.

Branyan hit a towering shot into the right-field bleachers with one out in the fourth for his second home run and the Mariners added two more runs in the fifth on Gutierrez's two-run single to tie it 3-all.

Cust put the A's ahead with his two-run drive to left in the bottom half.

Endy Chavez singled in the ninth and became the first Mariners player to hit safely in the first six games since Ichiro Suzuki opened the 2005 season with a seven-game streak.


Hernandez is third among active pitchers for strikeouts at age 23 and younger. He had 599 before turning 23 on Wednesday and now has 607. Only Jeremy Bonderman (623) and Scott Kazmir (617) had more. ... Mariners' OF Ichiro Suzuki missed his final rehab game because of inclement weather. ... Cabrera was 1-for-2 against Hernandez and is 16-for-32 (.500) lifetime, the best of any hitter with significant at-bats against the right-hander. ... The A's featured an all-shortstop infield the final two innings, with Crosby at third, Cabrera at short, Ellis at second (he came up with the Kansas City Royals as a shortstop) and Nomar Garciaparra at first.

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