By Lauren Smith | McClatchy News Service
SEATTLE — Playing beneath the smoke that has smothered the Pacific Northwest the past week, the Mariners opened their final homestand with a 6-5 win Monday afternoon, in the first game of a rescheduled doubleheader against the A’s.
Three homers from rookie sensation Kyle Lewis and relative newcomers Luis Torrens and Jose Marmolejos, three doubles from Tim Lopes, and some patience in the decisive sixth helped the Mariners (22-25) undo Oakland’s early five-run lead inside a hazy T-Mobile Park, as they crept closer to the Astros in the race for second place in the American League West.
What once looked like an insurmountable lead against the division leaders, the Mariners chipped away, and finally scratched across the decisive run with two outs in the sixth when Lewis walked on four pitches with the bases loaded against A’s reliever Joakim Soria. Lopes hit his third double of the game — tying a single-game club record — to the gap in right center to score the tying run moments earlier.
It was all part of a three-inning rally that pushed the Mariners ever closer to ending a playoff drought that has lasted nearly two decades. Down 5-0 in the fourth, Torrens popped his first career homer to right to erase the possibility of a shutout. Marmolejos blasted another solo shot — his sixth homer of the season — to center to open the fifth. Lopes followed up with a double, and eventually scored when Lewis belted a two-run homer — his team-leading 10th of the season — to make it 5-4 before Seattle took control in the sixth.
Lopes, who was recalled from the Mariners’ alternate site in Tacoma as the 29th man for the doubleheader, finished 3-for-3 in the win. The final four batters in Seattle’s order combined to finish 7-for-12.
Mariners ace Marco Gonzales entered the day looking to provide his usual stability, but allowed a season-high five runs across his six complete innings despite collecting his sixth win of the season and fourth in as many outings.
The A’s caused plenty of traffic in the first two innings on three hits, a walk and a hit by pitch, but Gonzales worked out of the jams well enough, allowing only one run when Marcus Semien ripped a two-out RBI single to left in the second that scored Khris Davis, who hit a ground-rule double earlier in the inning.
Gonzales recorded a clean, 1-2-3 inning in the third, but Oakland broke through in the fourth. Sean Murphy led off the frame with a solo homer to left barely visible through the haze. A single and a fielder’s choice followed, giving the A’s runners at the corners with one out. Then Semien cranked a three-run homer to the bleachers above Edgar’s Cantina in left.
Gonzales didn’t allow anything else, striking out the side in the fifth and retiring eight of his nine batters, only interrupted by a fielding error, but damage had been done. He wrapped up his outing allowing the five runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on 103 pitches.
Veteran reliever Yoshihisa Hirano closed out the win in the seventh, earning his second save of the season.