OAKLAND, Calif. — The Seattle Mariners did something no one else had done in his previous six outings — beat Oakland Athletics hard-throwing lefty Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir came into Monday night’s game with a spotless 4-0 record and a sparkling 2.11 earned-run average.
But that mattered little to a suddenly surging Seattle squad.
The Mariners scored four runs off Kazmir — the most he’ has allowed this season — and hung on for a 4-2 win at a sparsely populated O.co Coliseum.
The Mariners improved to 15-15 and have won three straight and eight of their last 10 games.
The Mariners set the tone early, scoring two runs off Kazmir in the first inning.
Michael Saunders led off the game with a hard single to left field and Stefen Romero followed with a single back up the middle off Kazmir.
With one out, Corey Hart plated Saunders with a single into right field. Romero was able to advance to third on the play, which proved important because he was able to score on Kyle Seager’s ground ball to second.
The 2-0 lead lasted until the fourth inning when Mariners’ starter Chris Young gave up a two-run homer to Brandon Moss, who drove a fastball deep into the right-field stands.
But the Mariners answered back immediately in the top of the fifth. With two outs, Romero blasted his first home run of the season, smashing a line drive into the second deck in left field to make it 3-2. It was just the second homer Kazmir has given up this season.
The Mariners pushed it to 4-2 in the sixth. Cole Gillespie led off the inning with a single and later came around to score when Moss lost Brad Miller’s liner to left in the stadium lights.
Young pitched into the seventh, but was lifted after giving up a leadoff single to Josh Donaldson and walking Moss.
Manager Lloyd McClendon called on Charlie Furbush in that situation to face the switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo and turn him around to bat right-handed.
McClendon had said before the game that he was trying to avoid high-stress, high-leverage situations with Furbush because of his recent struggles. This qualified as one, but with Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen unavailable, Furbush got the call.
He did his job, getting Callaspo to hit a hard one-hopper right at Miller for an easy 6-4-3 double play.
McClendon and A’s manager Bob Melvin got very busy managing.
Melvin pinch-hit for John Jaso with Derek Norris. To counter, McClendon brought in Dominic Leone for the right-on-right matchup. Leone walked Norris to put runners on first and third.
It got more interesting. With two outs, Melvin summoned lefty Josh Reddick to bat against Leone. McClendon countered by bringing in lefty Joe Beimel to pitch. Melvin answered by replacing Reddick with hard-hitting Yoenis Cespedes. That little chess match resulted in a pop-up to Robinson Cano at second base and preserved a 4-2 lead for the Mariners.
Beimel and Yoervis Medina combined to work a scoreless eighth inning. Fernando Rodney worked a rare 1-2-3 inning for his eighth save. He did get help on a brilliant diving stop and throw to first from Miller on a rocket one-hopper in the hole off the bat of Donaldson.