That “opener” concept isn’t exactly working for the Mariners.
For the fifth time this season, the Mariners used a reliever before their primary pitcher Saturday night at Oakland. And for the third time, the opener allowed three runs in the first inning. This time it was right-hander Gerson Bautista (0-1), who lasted just two-thirds of an inning in which he gave up two hits and walked three while striking out one in an 11-2 loss to the Athletics.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who had allowed just three runs in 14 innings in two previous “relief” appearances, this time was rocked for six runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings as the A’s built a 9-1 lead through four innings.
Oakland’s Marcus Semien and Jurickson Profar each went 3 for 4, with Semien hitting a home run and Profar driving in four runs.
Athletics right-hander Frankie Montas (9-2) pitched six quality innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.
The M’s played without second baseman Dee Gordon and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the American League with 21 home runs. Gordon sat out with soreness in his right wrist, which recently sent him to the 10-day disabled list, and Encarnacion was reportedly traded to the New York Yankees.
By the numbers
10: Home runs by the Mariners’ Omar Narvaez, just the sixth catcher in franchise history to reach that number before the All-Star break. Narvaez joins Kenji Johjima (10 HR in 2006), Miguel Olivo (12 HR in 1996), Dave Valle (10 HR in1987), Dan Wilson (12 HR in 1996), Mike Zunino (13 HR in 2014, 12 in 2017 and 12 in 2018).
Our take from Right Field
When the Tampa Bay Rays first started using an opener two seasons ago, M’s manager Scott Servais seemed skeptical, saying it didn’t quite make sense for his veteran-laden rotation. Maybe it doesn’t make sense now because the M’s don’t have many relievers capable of pitching a scoreless first.
The M’s conclude their three-game series in Oakland and their nine-game trip with a 1:07 p.m. game Sunday. RHP Mike Leake (5-6, 4.26 ERA) is scheduled to go against A’s RHP Tanner Anderson (0-1, 3.18).
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