OAKLAND, Calif. — Felix Hernandez wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been recently and got off to a sluggish start in the first two innings against the Athletics.
It hardly mattered on a day when the Mariners backed their ace with another 14 runs of support, something they did in Hernandez’s previous outing.
Hernandez overcame his slow start and pitched six scoreless innings to continue his dominance at the Oakland Coliseum and Seattle Mariners beat the A’s 14-3 on Saturday.
“The first three innings I was a little wild and the ball was moving all over the place, sinking and cutting,” Hernandez said. “After that I just started to pound the strike zone. The offense picked me up. It’s good for us.”
Seattle remained 3 ½ games behind the second wild card spot.
Hernandez (11-5) gave up four hits and a walk in the first two innings then settled in for his second consecutive win. Seattle’s six-time All-Star walked one and struck out two for his seventh win since coming off the disabled list.
King Felix also showed he’s king of the Coliseum.
Hernandez improved to 12-3 there, tying Tommy John for the most wins by an opposing pitcher at the 50-year-old stadium.
“Just trying to calm down, not be too quick to the plate and I made good pitches,” Hernandez said.
Nelson Cruz had three hits and three RBIs, Nori Aoki also had three hits and drove in two runs, and Kyle Seager hit his 28th home run to help the Mariners to their seventh win in eight games against the A’s this season.
Seattle batted around twice and had seven players with two hits or more.
“The offense really carried us today but it does take pitching to shut them down,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Felix gave us a chance to put the runs up there.”
The A’s, conversely, continued to struggle at their ballpark. With 41 losses at the Coliseum, Oakland is guaranteed of consecutive losing seasons at home for the first time since 1997-98.
Ryon Healy had three hits including a two-run home run for the A’s.
Cruz doubled and scored on Kyle Seager’s single in the first. Cruz doubled again in the third and drove in two runs when the Mariners batted around to go up 6-0.
Aoki, who went into the day batting .337 in 22 career games against the A’s, made it 8-0 with a two-run double in the sixth to chase Kendall Graveman (10-10).
Seager hit his second home run in three days off reliever J.B. Wendelken leading off the seventh.
Graveman allowed eight runs and a career-high 12 hits over five-plus innings with three walks and one strikeout.
“It was just one of those games where he was a little bit off and didn’t have command of his fastball like he normally does,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
AOKI WARMING UP
Aoki had his best game since coming off the disabled list, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and a walk. Getting their leadoff hitter comfortable will be key for the Mariners as they head down the stretch. “He comes back with a vengeance,” Servais said. “Really good at-bats, he’s driving the ball.”
Mariners: Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen pitched one inning and allowed Healy’s home run after being activated from the disabled list before the game. Wilhelmsen had been out since Aug. 26 with back spasms.
Athletics: Sean Manaea (back strain) is scheduled to start Wednesday in Kansas City after throwing 50 pitches in an extended bullpen session without setback. Manaea hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 29.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (4-6) pitches the series finale in his fourth start since coming off the disabled list. Paxton has won both of his career starts against Oakland.
Athletics: RHP Raul Alcantara (0-1) makes his second career start for the A’s. Alcantara tied a major league record with three hit batters in the first inning against the Angels on Sept. 5.
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