So, you like fireworks to mark the nation’s birthday? How about four homers Friday night by the Seattle Mariners in a 9-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
OK … yes, it was July 3. But the A’s had a full house of 35,067 on hand at the O.co Coliseum, partly in anticipation of postgame fireworks to mark Independence Day.
The Mariners trailed 3-0 when Logan Morrison started the comeback with a two-run homer in the third inning against Oakland starter Jesse Chavez. They took the lead on Seth Smith’s two-run bomb against Chavez in the sixth.
Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller hit two-run homers in the seventh inning against reliever Evan Scribner that turned the game into a rout. The victory, by the way, prevented the Mariners from falling into last place.
J.A. Happ (4-5) rebounded from a three-run second inning by retiring 14 of the last 16 batters he faced through the sixth. Mark Lowe inherited a one-run lead to start the seventh.
It was a six-run lead when Charlie Furbush pitched the eighth. Carson Smith, who hadn’t pitched since Sunday, wobbled through a two-run ninth inning before closing out the victory.
Happ snapped a nine-start winless streak that included losses in his previous four outings. He gave up eight hits in six innings, but didn’t walk anyone and struck out five.
Chavez (4-8) kept the game close in limiting the Mariners to four runs in 61/3 innings, but Scribner took a beating after replacing Eric O’Flaherty following Robinson Cano’s leadoff single in the seventh.
The Mariners trailed 3-2 in the sixth inning when Kyle Seager lined a two-out single into center. Seth Smith then worked the count full against Jesse Chavez before turning on a 92-mph fastball.
Smith’s 393-foot drive cleared the right-field wall, and the Mariners had the lead.
Cano opened the eighth with a single, his third hit. In came Scribner, and Cano immediately stole second; his second steal of the year.
Cruz followed by crushing an 0-2 fastball for a no-doubt homer to right-center. It was his 21st homer of the season, and the Mariners led 6-3 — and they weren’t done.
Kyle Seager doubled past third and went to third on Smith’s grounder to third. Seager scored when first baseman Stephen Vogt booted Dustin Ackley’s grounder.
Miller then rocked a two-run homer and, that quickly, a one-run lead had turned into 9-3.
It didn’t start well.
The Mariners opened the game by wasting a great scoring chance after one-out singles by Austin Jackson and Cano put runners at first and third in the first inning.
Nothing. Cruz fouled out to first, and Seager grounded out to second.
Oakland then started its first against Happ with two grounders through the left side for singles. The Mariners settled for a force at second on Ben Zobrist’s slow grounder to second.
But Happ also escaped when Billy Butler grounded into a double play.
The Athletics put Happ in another jam in the second when two tough-hop grounders resulted in one-out singles off the gloves of Morrison at first base and Miller at short.
This time, Happ paid a price.
Mark Canha drove an RBI single into right and took second when Mark Trumbo threw home. Marcus Semien’s high chopper to short produced another run when Miller had to go to first for the out.
Oakland pushed its lead to 3-0 when Billy Burns’ soft floater into right fell for an RBI double.
The Mariners answered immediately.
Mike Zunino led off the third inning with a single through the left side, and Morrison followed by putting a 428-foot charge into a first-pitch change-up for a two-run homer to center.
It was Morrison’s 10th homer of the season; he hasn’t hit more than 11 since he had 23 for Florida in 2011.
The comeback was under way.
The Mariners must make a decision Saturday on suspended left-handed reliever David Rollins, who appears in line for a recall to the big-league club after completing his 16-day rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma.
Rollins, 25, is a Rule 5 pick from Houston who received an 80-game suspension on March 27 after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid that is often used by bodybuilders to enlarge muscle mass.
Rule 5 picks must remain on a major-league roster or the major-league disabled list for the entire next season. They must be offered back to their former club for $25,000 before they can be sent to the minors.
Rollins has not allowed a run in 91/3 innings over seven appearances in his rehab assignment at Tacoma. He has allowed seven hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Returning Rollins to active duty would require a corresponding space-clearing move on the 25-man Seattle roster. Left-handed reliever Vidal Nuno, who has options remaining, appears most at risk.
Reports indicate that the Mariners reached agreements with three 16-year-old Dominicans since Thursday’s start to the international signing period. They have $2,150,300 in their allotted bonus pool.
• Shortstop Carlos Vargas, ranked as the No. 19 international prospect by Baseball America. It was initially reported that Vargas (6 feet 3, 180 pounds) received a $1.7 million bonus. Updated reports show that it was $1.625 million.
• Catcher Daniel Santos (6-2, 180) to a $110,000 bonus.
• Right-handed pitcher Ivan Fortunato (6-3, 170). His bonus has not been reported.
The Mariners and Athletics continue their four-game series at 1:05 p.m. Saturday at the O.co Coliseum.
Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez (10-4, 3.05) will try for a third time to get his 11th victory when he faces Oakland right-hander Kendall Graveman (5-4, 3.47).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.