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Game #79: A’s snap skid, beat Mariners 3-1

A big night from Murphy and Kaprielian

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s broke their four-game losing streak Friday night, beating the Mariners 3-1 in Seattle.

Oakland had 12 hits in this one that they parlayed into three runs, just enough for the pitching to work with. There were some scares along the way, but the starter held down Seattle’s lineup for six innings and yielded just a single run while the bullpen had a scoreless day for the Green & Gold.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

Both starting pitchers were on tonight, trading zeros for the first four innings. The A’s had a few early chances against Seattle lefty Marco Gonzales, including getting runners to second and third with one out in the second that they wasted. The A’s would end up getting hits in every inning except the first today.

Oakland starter James Kaprielian had a much easier go of it from the start, allowing just a single and a walk in his first five innings of work. Of the first 17 batters that Kap faced through those five innings, he threw 15 first-pitch strikes and was aggressive all night, especially with his breaking pitch.

He also got a little help from his defense here and there:

Oakland was flirting with scoring a run tonight and finally made it happen in the fifth. Tony Kemp lead off the frame getting hit by a pitch and Ramon Laureano walked, but we’d seen the A’s already squander opportunities tonight. Well, Sean Murphy made sure this one wasn’t wasted, cueing a pitch on the hands the other way to bring in Kemp and put the A’s on the board:

A nice catch by the Mariners ended that rally, but Oakland tacked on another run the next inning against Gonzales, getting a two-out Sheldon Neuse double and an RBI single from Kemp to bring him in and double the lead.

With a two-run lead and on his A-game, it started to look like Kaprielian might be getting his first W of the season tonight. The Mariners finally broke through against him in the sixth, sparked by a triple from young stud Julio Rodriguez. A groundout brought him in for the Mariners’ first run but Seattle wasn’t quite done there. Another extra-base hit, a hard-hit double that just missed going out, and a walk put the tying run on base and putting the club on high alert, but Kap dialed it up and struck out Abraham Toro to end the threat, and his day.

  • James Kaprielian: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 84 pitches

That’s now three straight improved starts from Kap after a stretch of rough outings in June. It’s coincided with a change in his delivery that he made with the help of fellow rotation arm Paul Blackburn and the results have been significant. He’s now allowed just six runs in 16 23 innings over his last three starts since the change. Much improved.

Oakland tacked on one more insurance run in the seventh thanks to Murphy again, who went 3-for-5 and had two of Oakland’s three RBI’s. This time he went the other way for a solo shot with two outs:

Bullpen workhorse Domingo Acevedo relieved Kaprielian and started the seventh. It was an up-and-down performance tonight from the righty as he got two outs but also put a pair on base to bring up Rodriguez representing the go-ahead run. Mark Kotsay didn’t wait around and brought in another workhorse in Zach Jackson to face him but apparently no one had any interest in taking him on, pitching around him and putting him on to load the bases for Jesse Winker. He drove a 3-1 pitch into straight away center and put a scare into the club but Laureano made the play on the warning track to strand the bases loaded and end the inning. Huge sigh of relief, right there.

Oakland had a couple more chances to add on some extra runs. Back-to-back hits in the eighth were wasted, as was a two-out Murphy double in the ninth. He came up just a triple short of the cycle tonight.

Jackson handled a 1-2-3 eighth and set up Lou Trivino for the save opportunity. He’s had his low points for the club this year and for a moment it looked like he had surrendered a two-run game-tying bomb in the ninth. Again, the ball came up just short at the warning track, and Trivino locked down the save to secure the win.

So the A’s take the second game of this four-game series and head into tomorrow on a winning note. James Kaprielian deserved the win tonight and he got it, his first of the season in 12 starts, and although they scared us a few times, the bullpen bent but didn’t break and kept the Mariners off the board.

Oakland will have Paul Blackburn on the bump tomorrow afternoon looking to build his resume in advance of All-Star selection. He’ll be opposed, for the second time in two weeks, by George Kirby. The first matchup resulted in a blowout loss for the A’s so fingers crossed for a different outcome!


  • Nick Allen extended his hit streak to 7 games with his third inning single and he’s got at least a hit in 9 of his last 10 games. He looks like a man on a mission to never see Triple-A again.
  • Christian Bethancourt had a pair of hits himself tonight and now has at least one hit in five of the last six games.
  • Another hitter heating up is Sheldon Neuse, who also had a pair of hits tonight. Neuse has hits in 9 of his last 11 games since returning from his brief stint in Vegas and is batting .385 over his last seven games.
  • Elvis Andrus showed off his baseball I.Q. in the third inning when he allowed a pop up to harmlessly drop in front of him with a man on first base. That allowed him to get the force-out at second, essentially swapping out the speedy Dylan Moore with the less-fast Andrew Knapp on the basepaths. See big brain time below: