Home run by Rodríguez on Montas’ 1st pitch, M’s beat A’s 2-1
SEATTLE (AP) — Julio Rodríguez hit Frankie Montas’ first pitch and drove in both innings, Robbie Ray hit a season-high 12 and the Seattle Mariners beat Oakland 2-1 on Sunday to inflict the Athletics their 25th loss in 31 games.
Ray (7-6) combined with Andrés Muñoz and Paul Sewald on a four-hitter and to strike out 16 batters. The A’s are last in the majors with a .211 batting average and have the worst record in the majors at 26-55.
« Keeping on the Robbie Ray bandwagon is what we’ll keep doing because he’s really good and fun to watch, » said smiling Seattle manager Scott Servais.
Ray hit 1,400 strikeouts as he fanned Ramón Laureano and Christian Bethancourt back-to-back in the third inning and hit double digits for the fourth time this season. It was the left-hander’s fifth straight quality start, helping the Mariners to their fifth win in six games and their 10th in the last 13.
He allowed a seventh-inning homer from Elvis Andrus on his 107th and final pitch, which ended Ray’s 18-inning scoreless streak. The 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner added a two-seam fastball after struggling early this season.
« It helped a ton, » Ray said. “I think, for me, double stitching has been very crucial ground. It’s not only a good throw, but it has improved my other throws, and I think that’s the most important thing.
Rodríguez’s home run on a lead was the 12th first-pitch homer in Mariners history—nine were by Ichiro Suzuki. The rookie danced in the batting box on his second at bat.
“If I was 21 and hitting .280, I would be dancing in the batting box too,” Servais said. « I have no idea what it feels like. I’m really happy for him and it carries over to the rest of our team.
Montas (3-9) left after the first with what manager Mark Kotsay said was tightness in the back of his right shoulder. He threw 13 pitches and his fastball averaged 93.8 mph, down from 96.2 mph when he finished.
« So in this situation, we’re going to err on the side of caution, » Kotsay said. « We’ll just go day to day from here. »
Reliever Austin Pruitt has given up 13 straight, eliminating the team in the fourth and getting two more in the fifth. Dylan Moore singled one out in the sixth and scored on Rodríguez’s brace wide from left center for a 2-0 lead.
Pruitt struck out six in 4 1/3 innings.
« It was a big league performance by Pruitt getting there, » Kotsay said. « Until that last hitter with Rodríguez, he pretty much went through that lineup and gave us a chance to stay in this game. »
Muñoz struck out three in the eighth and Sewald threw a perfect ninth, throwing a called third strike past pinched hitter Stephen Vogt for his ninth stoppage of 11 opportunities.
« Muñoz was just electric, » Servais said.
Ray became the second pitcher in Mariners history to allow three or fewer runs with 40 or more strikeouts in a five-game span. He joined Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who did so from May 28 to June 19, 1997. Ray struck out 40 and walked nine dating to June 12, a streak of 33 2/3 innings. His ERA is 0.80 during this period.
Mariners: OF/DH Kyle Lewis (concussion) was due to start a rehab assignment as early as Sunday. Manager Scott Servais said the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year’s stay at Triple-A Tacoma is likely to be long as he recovers from a pitch that slipped his head and continues to rehabilitate after surgery at the knee. Lewis was placed on the seven-day concussion list on May 29. Servais said Lewis will get plenty of field work in Tacoma. He was limited to the designated hitter role earlier this season. … 1B Ty France (elongated left elbow) could join the team next weekend. … C Tom Murphy returned to the team after shoulder surgery and will be in rehab in Seattle for the remainder of the season, Servais said. France is on the IL for 60 days and for the year.
Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin (2-6, 3.58 ERA) takes the mound as the A’s return to Oakland for a three-game series with Toronto on Monday. Irvin is still looking for his first win since returning from IL on May 22. He’s 0-5 in eight starts since.
Mariners: RHP Chris Flexen (4-8, 4.32) starts the two-game series at San Diego on Monday. Flexen has eight starts of seven or more innings pitched while allowing one or less runs this season, second in the AL.
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The Associated Press