SEATTLE — This hasn’t exactly been the reboot season Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was hoping for. When he arrived at training camp this spring thinner, he was ready to improve on 2018 offensive numbers that fell well below his career averages.
But, he sustained the first major injury of his nine-year career several few weeks into camp, had surgery to repair a tendon in his left hand, and landed on the injured list before the Mariners played their first regular season game.
Seager didn’t return to Seattle’s starting lineup until the last week of May, and while the flashy glove work he is known for was still there when he got back, the bat has been sporadic. He entered Saturday night’s game against Oakland with a .199 batting average, dipping below .200 for the first time in more than a year.
It hasn’t been the bounce-back season he was looking for in the first half, but Saturday night he offered a glimpse of how it still could be. Seager drove in three runs and cranked the decisive go-ahead two-run homer in his second at-bat to lift the Mariners to an eventual 6-3 win over the A’s at T-Mobile Park.
Seager’s homer in the fourth, a 367-foot shot to right off Chris Bassitt’s sinker, broke a 2-2 tie, and the Mariners preserved the lead over the final five frames. Omar Narvaez, who singled the at-bat before, also scored on Seager’s sixth homer of the season. The homer ended a 0-for-21 slump for Seager that dated back to June 29. He collected another RBI in the fifth, driving in Domingo Santana on a sac fly down the left field line that gave the Mariners a four-run advantage.
It was a refreshing offensive game for Seager, and a Seattle team that snapped a three-game skid with a decisive four-run fourth. Moments before Seager’s blast, Santana collected his 100th hit of the season, becoming the 17th Mariner in history to record triple-digit hits before the All-Star break. The following at-bat, All-Star pick Daniel Vogelbach hit a towering two-run shot to to right. It was his club-leading 21st homer of the season.
Seattle tacked on two more runs in the fifth. J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch with one out, and Santana, who finished 3-for-4, singled for the third time behind him to push Bassitt out of the game. Vogelbach drew a walk off Oakland reliever Wei-Chung Wang to load the bases, and Narvaez worked back from an 0-2 count to walk and force in a run. Seager’s sac fly then scored Santana.
The two-inning outburst was enough to cushion Mariners ace Marco Gonzales, who posted a quality start, and won his fifth game in six starts to push his season record to 10-7. He also posted 10 wins before the All-Star break last season, becoming the fifth pitcher in club history to record multiple 10-win season before the break.
Gonzales allowed two runs (both earned) on just five hits, while walking one and striking out six in eight complete innings. It was just the second time in 20 starts this season he’s gone eight or more, but he’s allowed three earned runs or less in six consecutive starts since allowing a season-high 10 to the Angels on June 2.
After the A’s loaded the bases with one out in the first, Gonzales limited the damage, allowing one run to score on a Ramon Laureano sac fly before striking out Chad Pinder to end the threat. His only other miscue came on a third-inning solo homer by Matt Olson that gave Oakland an early 2-0 lead.
Gonzales never faced more than four batters in an inning after the first, and retired the final eight he faced in order.
Ramon Laureano opened the top of the ninth with a solo homer deep to left off of Roenis Elias to cut the Mariners’ lead to three runs, but Elias retired the next three batters in order to end the game.