Mariners Insider Blog

Athletics 8, Mariners 5: Lineup back intact…but it’s not enough

Robinson Cano returned Tuesday to the Mariners in top form. He weith 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs against Oakland.
Robinson Cano returned Tuesday to the Mariners in top form. He weith 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs against Oakland. AP

With the Dominican core of their roster back in camp, the Mariners ran out their likely opening-day lineup Tuesday night against American League West-rival Oakland at Peoria Stadium.

That part was fine. Robinson Cano went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs, Jean Segura was 1-for-3 with a walk and designated hitter Nelson Cruz had two walks in three plate appearances.

Not so fine: Right-hander Chris Heston gave up six runs in a disastrous third inning that he failed to complete. And after the Mariners closed to within one run, lefty Dean Kiekhefer yielded two runs in the sixth inning.

The result was an 8-5 loss to the Athletics.

Heston and Kiekhefer are likely headed for Triple-A Tacoma. Heston drew the start because the Mariners chose to shift lefty Drew Smyly to a minor-league game rather than have him face a division opponent late in camp.

The Mariners (15-10) gakked an early chance after loading the bases with one out in the first inning against Jharel Cotton when Kyle Seager grounded into a double play.

Oakland (12-10) started its big third inning when Chris Parmelee pulled a double past first baseman Dan Vogelbach and went to third on Adam Rosales’ bad-hop double past third.

From there, everything fell apart.

Alejandro De Aza’s bunt single scored Parmelee before Marcus Semien lined an RBI double into the left-center gap for a 2-0 lead. Yonder Alonso added another run with an RBI single to center.

Still more.

Trevor Plouffe pulled an RBI double into the left-center gap. Mark Canha struck out, but Bruce Maxwell lined a two-run double past center fielder Leonys Martin.

That made out 6-0 and finished Heston, but Josh Judy, a call-up from minor-league camp, ended the inning without further damage.

The Mariners got one run back later in the inning on Cano’s two-out RBI double.

Cotton couldn’t make it through the fourth inning. He exited after a bases-loaded, two-out walk to Jean Segura made it 6-3. Cano then grounded a two-run single through the left side against Simon Castro.

The Mariners were back to within 6-5 and reloaded the bases when Nelson Cruz walked, but Seager grounded out to second. Oakland then struck back with two runs in the sixth against Kiekhefer.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Shortstop Rayder Ascanio started a slick inning-ending double play in the eighth inning by fielding Rangel Ravelo’s grounder deep in the hole.

Second baseman Tyler Smith executed a tough turn after getting and made a strong throw to first baseman Taylor Motter.

PLUS: Right fielder Mitch Haniger went 2-for-4 and raised his average to .412 (21-for-51)…reliever Evan Scribner pitched a one-two-three seventh inning with two strikeouts. He got one out in the eighth before exiting after he walked the next hitter…reliever Dan Altavilla worked two scoreless innings. That makes five scoreless innings in four outings since getting roughed up by the Rangers on March 3…

MINUS: Seager grounded into a double play with one out and the bases loaded in the first inning, and ended a four-run fourth inning by grounding out with the bases loaded…

STAT PACK: Kiekhefer struck out the side in the Oakland sixth but also allowed three hits and a walk, which resulted in two runs.

QUOTABLE: Like everyone else, manager Scott Servais saw the raw emotion from closer Edwin Diaz on Monday in Puerto Rico’s victory over The Netherlands in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

"I like players to show emotion," Servais said. "I do not think that’s a bad thing at all. If there are guys in the other dugout who have an issue with it, then that’s their issue. It’s how the game should be played.

"I think that’s why people are watching these (WBC) games. You hear it from a number of people: `Hey, the emotion is great.’ Now we all understand that to do that for 162 games…it’s not football. It’s not once a week.

"But I don’t think it’s a bad thing."

SHORT HOPS: During the game, the Mariners announced right-handed pitcher Micah Owings had been reassigned to minor-league camp. That leaves 44 players in big-league camp, including nine non-roster players…the Mariners awarded 2016 championship rings in a pregame ceremony to players and staff from Double-A Jackson (Southern League) and Peoria (Arizona Rookie League).

UP NEXT: The Mariners play a third straight American League West opponent when the Los Angeles Angels make a 1:10 p.m. visit Wednesday to Peoria Stadium.

Right-hander Cody Martin will draw the start because the Mariners plan to shift Yovani Gallardo to a minor-league game to avoid facing a division opponent.

The Angels plan to start right-hander Yusmeiro Petit. The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and


Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners