Mariners post five-run second, hold off A's

Mariners post five-run second, hold off A's

OAKLAND -- The Fu Manchu interim manager Daren Brown sported on Tuesday might be around longer than he expected -- and a little more gray than he would like.

"It is an offensive goatee," Brown said. "It seems to work for [pitching coach] Carl Willis, so I told him I would give it a day or two."

Whatever works and on this night, the Mariners' offense worked better than usual.

Seattle erupted for five runs in the second inning, built a six-run lead, and then held on in the ninth inning for a 7-5 victory over Oakland before 10,067 at the Coliseum.

A five-run lead when the inning started dwindled to two runs before closer David Aardsma came to the rescue, getting the game-ending out -- and his 29th save -- on his second pitch.

The save Aardsma notched prevented bullpen colleague Brandon League from being responsible for blowing a five-run lead after retiring the first two batters of the inning -- on six pitches.

The wheels came off quickly as the five batters reached base.

"Brandon has been so good all year long that you don't expect him to struggle like that," Aardsma said. "My only thought when I came in was to get ahead in the count and get the last out."

The first pitch to Cliff Pennington was a ball, but the second was a strike, and was hit routinely in the air to left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo, leaving two runners in scoring position.

Right-hander Doug Fister won for the second time since May 14 and defeated the Athletics for the fourth time in five career decisions and reduced his ERA to 1.80 against them. Two of his five victories this season are against Oakland.

So, does he own them?

"I definitely would not say that," Fister said. "They have a lot of good hitters over there and we fortunately were able to end up on top tonight."

Amazing what run support can do for a pitcher.

Eight of the nine Mariners starters had at least one hit, and catcher Adam Moore hit a home run as Seattle ended a six-game losing streak in Oakland and prevented the Athletics from closing to within six games of the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

How the West eventually is won is of little concern to the Mariners.

But more innings like the one they had off Athletics left-hander Dallas Braden could make the final three weeks of the season much more satisfying than the first 22 weeks.

A leadoff walk to Franklin Gutierrez, who left the game in the third inning because he was "hyperventilating," lit an offensive spark in the second inning that continued to burn for more than half-an-hour.

Before it went out, the Mariners had a season-high seven hits, went 6-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and scored five runs, ending a streak of 11 consecutive games scoring three or fewer runs.

The second-inning rally came right out of left field, literally.

With two runners on and nobody out, first baseman Casey Kotchman hit a fly ball to left field that sliced away from Jeff Larish, who finally tried to make a diving catch near the line.

The ball landed a foot or so on the fair side of the foul line and caromed off the wall. Gutierrez scored on the hit, Jose Lopez advanced to third and Kotchman advanced to second on a throwing error.

Moore hit a sacrifice fly and Matt Tuiasosopo reached on an infield single, the first of five straight singles, producing the third, fourth and fifth runs of the inning.

A majority of them were of the seeing-eye variety, but that didn't matter to the run-starved offense.

Josh Wilson, Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan delivered the run-scoring hits.

"We talk about putting ourselves in good offensive situations and we were able to string some hits together in the five-run inning," Brown said. "That is something we haven't done a lot since I've been here, and it was good to see it tonight."

The five-run inning matched the season high, set on Aug. 14 against the Indians in Cleveland. It was the first time Seattle had as many as six hits with runners in scoring position since going 8-for-14 against the Padres on May 21.

"We had some guys hit the ball in the right places a couple of times," Brown added, "but we'll take 'em."

Moore tacked on a run in the third, belting his fourth home run of the season.

Fister weathered a rough first, getting out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by snagging a line drive and turning it into an inning-ending double play.

A single, walk and a one-out hit batter had put Fister in a bind.

The Athletics, already aware that the first-place Rangers lost again, had hopes of jumping out to a quick lead. But Mark Ellis' liner up the middle landed in Fister's glove and Jack Cust was an easy DP victim at first base.

"I thought Fister, from the first inning on, had some tough innings to get out of," Brown said. "He wasn't real sharp and he was able to get through five innings with the lead and get the win.

"Obviously, any win is a good win, and winning on the road is a good win anytime."

Fister improved to 5-11.

Brown said after the game that Gutierrez "was a little bit congested" early in the game and after making a couple of catches, "he came in and didn't feel real well."

"It wasn't anything to do with [his recent illness] and he feels a lot better right now, but as a precaution, we took him out and had their team doctor look at him."

Gutierrez's status is day-to-day.

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.