BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
The A’s bounced back from a pair of series opening losses to the Mariners behind seven shutout innings from James Kaprielian to score a 6-3 win over the Mariners Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Kaprielian (2-0, 1.53), a first round pick in 2015 out of UCLA making just his third career start, was brilliant, pitching out of the only jam he encountered in the fourth while holding Seattle hitless in his other six innings on the mound and only allowing a pair of singles. He retired the last ten Mariners batters he faced. His seven innings on the mound was his longest effort since April 2016 when he was throwing for the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League.
“We lost three in a row, so we needed a big start,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Getting deep into that game and pitching that well, that’s just going to bode well for him going forward. At the big league level, you have to create your own opportunities. That’s what he’s done with these three starts. He keeps pitching like this, we’ll find a spot for him.”
The A’s jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead with the help of RBI’s on a Seth Brown double and Matt Chapman sacrifice fly before Matt Olson extended the advantage with a solo home run in the third, his 13th of the year. Oakland blew the game open the following inning with another three runs as Brown and Olson contributed their second RBI’s of the day along with one from Ramon Laureano.
The Mariners got to an ineffective Yusmeiro Petit for three runs on four hits in the eighth to briefly make it interesting, but Jake Diekman came on to record the final four outs of the game to record his sixth save.
Oakland will now welcome the Angels for a four game series at the Coliseum with Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.37) facing Chris Bassitt (4-2, 3.69) in the opener.
The A’s lead the majors with five walk-off wins and are 8-2 in games decided in the last at bat.
Wednesday’s win was Bob Melvin’s 796th as manager of the A’s, moving him within two of tying Tony LaRussa’s record for the most since the franchise moved to Oakland.
Oakland improved to 4-5 in their current stretch of 16 games in 16 days, all against AL West opposition. Their 6-10 record against their own division is the worst in the American League and the third worst in the majors. Ten of those 16 games have been against the Astros.
The A’s are the only team in the majors to boast four starters with ten or more starts (Bassitt, Manaea, Montas and Irvin).