OAKLAND, Calif. — Scoring more than a few runs a game has been a challenge for Seattle lately. That’s why Adam Moore embraced the Mariners’ five-run inning against Oakland’s Dallas Braden, even if it lacked style points.
Seattle banged out seven hits in the second inning, all of them soft singles, and jumped to a six-run lead before holding off a late rally to beat the Athletics 7-5 on Tuesday night.
“We haven’t been able to score a lot of runs early in ballgames and tonight was key,” said Moore, Seattle’s catcher who homered and drove in two runs. “It wasn’t pretty but they were key hits and we’ll take them any way we can get them. We just had a flow of hits where balls were finding the green in the outfield. We were able to find every hole tonight.”
The Mariners hadn’t scored more than three runs in 11 consecutive games, the second-longest stretch in franchise history, before breaking out against the A’s. They did it against Braden, who pitched a perfect game against Tampa Bay in May and had won five of his previous eight starts.
Eight of Seattle’s nine starters had at least one hit and six players scored.
“That’s something we haven’t done a lot since I’ve been here,” interim manager Daren Brown said. “But it was good to see it tonight. We’ll take ‘em.”
Seattle jumped on Braden early, scoring five runs in the second inning after the left-hander had retired the side in order in the first. Moore homered in the third to make it 6-0.
Braden (9-11) had allowed only one earned run over his previous 14 innings. He left after five innings, giving up nine hits.
“Brutal to quite brutal,” Braden said, summarizing his outing. “I’ve seen less bleeding at a hemophiliac convention. That was rough.”
The timing couldn’t have been better for Mariners right-hander Doug Fister.
Fister (5-11) scattered five hits over five innings and pitched out of several jams for only his second win in nearly four months. He also led Seattle to its first win at the Coliseum since Opening Day. The Mariners had lost six straight in Oakland since then.
Fister, winless in his previous four starts, didn’t make it easy on himself. The right-hander loaded the bases in the first and had runners on second and third with one out in the second but escaped both times.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth but kept the damage to a minimum.
Cliff Pennington walked and Rajai Davis singled. After Daric Barton fouled out, Suzuki lined a two-run single to center to trim the gap to 6-2. Fister then walked Jack Cust but got the last two batters on fly outs to end the threat and his night.
Fister’s win is his first since Aug. 8 and only the second in his last 17 starts. The 26-year-old missed nearly three weeks in June with fatigue in his right shoulder and made one rehab outing in the minors before returning to the big league club.
“Honestly I was having trouble the whole night, just leaving the ball up,” Fister said. “I was just trying to focus on getting that tilt back and using the defense. Usually I don’t get to use the defense if the ball’s up and out of the zone.”
The A’s loaded the bases against reliever Garrett Olson in the sixth and came away empty again when Olson got Suzuki to ground out.
Seattle’s bullpen nearly melted down and gave the big lead away.
Oakland pinch-hitter Coco Crisp, not in the lineup due to a sore left knee, hit a two-run single in the ninth off Brandon League to drive in Cust and Ellis. Crisp later scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-5 before David Aardsma got Pennington to fly out and end the game for his 29th save in 34 tries.
Oakland had a chance to improve its fading playoff hopes after first-place Texas lost to Toronto earlier in the day. Instead, the A’s remain seven games behind the Rangers with 24 to go.
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits for Seattle, giving him 2,211 for his career and moving him into a tie for 169th place with Willie McCovey on the all-time list.
Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, Matt Tuiasosopo and Josh Wilson also had two hits apiece for Seattle.
Kurt Suzuki singled twice and drove in two runs for the A’s.