Seattle Mariners

Mariners remain a riddle to A's despite Khris Davis' 42nd homer

Mariners remain a riddle to A's despite Khris Davis' 42nd homer

OAKLAND — Yonder Alonso found his power-hitting comfort zone at the Coliseum earlier this season, and it resulted in his first All-Star Game selection.

Now he does his damage in a Mariners uniform, and the A’s could do without the power he’s shown the past two nights.

Alonso, traded from Oakland to Seattle in August, went deep for the second night in a row Tuesday, and another former Athletic, Danny Valencia, added the knockout blow with a three-run shot to lift the Mariners to a 6-3 victory.

It was a trip down memory lane that A’s manager Bob Melvin could have done without. This was a game his team was in position to win, thanks to solid starting pitching from Daniel Mengden, some pretty defensive work behind the pitcher and Khris Davis’ 42nd home run, which gave the A’s a short-lived 3-2 lead.

“It’s a frustrating loss for us,” Melvin said. “(Seattle starter James) Paxton is doing his thing, and we finally get him out of the game and take the lead with a two-run homer and we can’t hold it. That’s the frustrating part.”

While the A’s recently have dominated at home this season against Texas, which just left the Coliseum on Sunday, the Mariners are one division opponent they simply can’t solve. They’ve dropped an Oakland-record eight in a row to Seattle.

They can thank Alonso and Valencia for Tuesday’s heartache. Alonso hardly has torn the cover off the ball with the Mariners — he has just five homers in 39 games since the A’s traded him for outfielder Boog Powell. But he’s made a good enough impression that there’s thought that the Mariners might try to re-sign the free agent-to-be.

His trade to the Mariners reunited him with his longtime friend Valencia, who the A’s shipped to Seattle last offseason for right-hander Paul Blackburn. Both took joy in homering in the same game at the Coliseum, though neither was looking to rub it in against their former club.

“I have a lot of love playing here. It’s a good place to play,” said Valencia, who made headlines last year when he punched then-A’s teammate Billy Butler in a clubhouse altercation.

The A’s and Mariners have combined for nine homers in the first two games of this three-game set that ends Wednesday afternoon. Marcus Semien hit his first career leadoff homer in the first to accompany Davis’ blast, helping the A’s establish a new Oakland single-season record for homers at the Coliseum (128).

But, as has been their M.O. all season, if the A’s aren’t clearing the fences, they aren’t doing enough offensively. They had nine hits total but couldn’t push any more runs across.

“Our team’s success this year has revolved around the home run,” Melvin said. “We need to find other ways to do it.”

The A’s began this series hoping to catch fourth-place Seattle and escape the AL West cellar. But in taking the first two, the Mariners have leapfrogged Texas into third place for the time being, and the A’s trail Texas by four games for fourth place with five left to play, including four against the Rangers in Arlington beginning Thursday.

Frustrated with fan over foul ball, Matt Chapman explains why he made amends

Frustrated with fan over foul ball, Matt Chapman explains why he made amends

SEATTLE — Matt Chapman made amends with a fan sitting along the third-base line Sunday after getting bent out of shape that the fan interfered with his pursuit of a foul ball.

The episode happened during the bottom of the seventh, with the A’s third baseman not hiding his frustration that the fan went for the ball as Chapman was reaching over trying to catch it in foul territory in a 10-2 loss to the Mariners. It all turned out well in the end, with Chapman eventually making a point of going back over to the fan after the inning and handing him a ball to keep as a souvenoir. The fan, decked out in a gold A’s jersey and backwards A’s hat, was one of the few Oakland fans sitting in that section among a sea of Mariners fans at Safeco Field.

“He was an A’s fan after all. I don’t want to lose a fan,” Chapman said after the game, stressing that the fan had every right to try for the ball since it was in foul territory.

The rookie has shown a propensity to race full-bore after any foul ball that might be within the realm of possibility to catch. He reached into the stands with an extended a back-handed attempt on this particular pop-up in the seventh. The fan went for it at the same time and neither caught it.

Chapman stared at the fan and kept eye contact for a second as he continued to turn and walk back toward his position. Afterward, he was apologetic, saying that that was just another incident contributing to the frustration of an 0-6 road trip.

“Obviously I was a little frustrated,” Chapman said. “I kind of snapped a little bit, but then I gave him the ball and realized obviously it’s not his fault. I was just out there competing and obviously you get emotional sometimes.”

Chapman said he could tell from the look on the fan’s face that he felt bad too.

“We both kind of said sorry. He doesn’t need to get stared down by me.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's go 0-6 on road trip

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's go 0-6 on road trip

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE — The A’s must be happy they’re heading home after a winless six-game road trip that concluded Sunday.

The Mariners would have liked them to stick around a bit longer.

They took three in a row from Oakland and climbed to within 2 1/2 games of the American League’s second Wild Card spot with Sunday’s 10-2 victory. Before arriving in the Pacific Northwest, the A’s were swept by the Los Angeles Angels, who themselves are fighting for a postseason spot.

This isn’t the way the A’s want to impact the playoff race. After sweeping the Rangers at home last week, they’ve dropped a season-high tying six in a row and are 3-6 in this stretch of 15 consecutive games against AL West opponents.

Seattle lefty Andrew Albers (3-1) held the A’s hitless until the sixth Sunday, when Matt Olson hit an opposite field homer to pull the A’s to within 3-1. It felt like the A’s were trailing by more all afternoon however. They were out-hit 17-5, with the Mariners pouring it on with three runs in the eighth inning.

Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a homer. For the series, Seattle hit eight homers total off A’s pitching.

STRUGGLING STARTERS: One of the themes of the 0-6 trip was Oakland starters not pitching deep enough into games. Rookie Daniel Gossett (3-8) had trouble locating the strike zone and lasted just 3 2/3 innings, the third time in six games on the trip that the A’s starter went four innings or less. Gossett walked five, gave up three runs and threw just 46 strikes compared to 43 balls among his 89 pitches.

ROUGH RETURN: Top prospect Franklin Barreto spelled Jed Lowrie at second base, his first action since being recalled from the minors Friday. Barreto went 0-for-4, striking out swinging in his first two at-bats and grounding into a double play as the A’s were trying to rally from a 5-2 deficit in the eighth. Before the game, manager Bob Melvin said Barreto is likely to get a little time at shortstop as well as second base before the season wraps.

OLSON REBOUNDS: After a rough game Saturday, first baseman Matt Olson drove in both A’s runs Sunday as part of a 2-for-3 day. Ryon Healy typically plays first base against lefty pitchers, but Melvin said the A’s envision Olson as an everyday player in the future, and he wanted Olson to face a left-hander. The night before, Olson struck out twice and committed two errors.

ALONSO HURTS HIS OLD TEAM: Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso homered Saturday and singled to assist the game winning rally that night. On Sunday, he drove in another run as part of Seattle’s 17-hit attack. The A’s traded the All-Star to the Mariners on Aug. 6 for outfielder Boog Powell.

MORE ADDITIONS ON THE WAY: After Triple-A Nashville wraps up its season Monday, the A’s will call up more players to supplement their roster. Third baseman/outfielder Renato Nunez will be one of those, and Melvin mentioned perhaps another position player. Right now, given the struggles of Oakland’s starters, some pitching reinforcements appear the most crucial need.

“You always feel like you maybe have enough, and then something transpires and you don’t wanna get caught short,” Melvin said Sunday morning, before Gossett went out and lasted just 3 2/3 innings.