SEATTLE (AP) – Matt Olson hit a home run for the second straight game to lead a five-run first inning and the Oakland Athletics powered past the Seattle Mariners 7-4 on Sunday.
The win gave the Athletics their seventh win in nine games, and ninth in their last 12. They are 18-8 since June 9, thanks in part to a string of 12 consecutive games with home runs that continued Sunday.
Olson’s 19th homer, a three-run shot to right field off opener Matt Carasiti (0-1) in the first, and Marcus Semien’s solo homer in the second helped the A’s carve out a 6-0 lead. Ramon Laureano added his 16th homer, off the left-field foul pole, in the eighth. The homers helped Oakland extend its team record to 145 home runs before the All-Star break. They have 24 during the 12-game span.
The Mariners had been fairly effective using an opener until Sunday. The A’s jumped on Carasiti from the start, dropping Seattle to 5-7 with an opener on the mound. Semien singled to start the game, Robbie Grossman drew a walk and Olson made it 3-0 before many fans were seated.
After a strikeout, Carasiti gave up a double to Mark Canha and a single to Laureano, prompting manager Scott Servais to go to bulk-innings pitcher Wade LeBlanc earlier than planned.
LeBlanc gave up a run-scoring single to Chad Pinder and left fielder Dylan Moore compounded the mistake by allowing the ball to skate past him to the warning track. Laureano turned that bungle into a run for the 5-0 lead.
Carasiti had been sharp in the opener role in four previous appearances, allowing just five hits and one run. But on Sunday he gave up six hits and five runs – four earned – on 28 pitches, immediately taking the pressure off A’s starter Daniel Mengden (4-1).
Mengden was sharp against the Mariners, with the exception of Omar Narvaez. The catcher hit his 13th home run in the second and came up with run-scoring singles after leadoff doubles by Domingo Santana in the fourth and J.P. Crawford in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-3. Mengden allowed six hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.
Narvaez added his second solo shot in the eighth inning against reliever Joakim Soria to finish 4 for 4 with four RBIs. It was his first career multiple homer game and his 14 home runs are a team record for a catcher before the break.
The Mariners got good news when reliever Dan Altavilla’s MRI showed a flexor strain in his right elbow and no ligament damage. Altavilla felt pain in his forearm near his elbow during a relief appearance Friday night and feared a UCL injury. He’ll still be out for several weeks, manager Scott Servais said. … Mariners RF Mitch Haniger will not travel with the team after the All-Star break as he continues to recover from testicle surgery. Servais said Haniger will remain shut down until a scheduled doctor’s visit next week. Haniger was sent home from the team’s last road trip when he pushed his rehab too quickly. Servais has no timetable for the 2018 All-Star’s return.
Mariners reliever Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless inning of relief in back-to-back appearances Friday and Saturday at Double-A Arkansas and could rejoin the team after the All-Star break. Tuivailala is working his way back from muscle soreness that shut down his rehabilitation from Achilles surgery.
“He’s moving in the right direction, which is great,” Servais said. “There’s opportunity with the injuries as well. We want to get him back in the fold and see what he looks like.”
Servais believes closer Hunter Strickland is a few weeks away from his return from a lat strain. Strickland threw a successful 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday. Servais says he’ll travel with the team to Los Angeles where he’ll throw another bullpen session, then live batting practice before a minor league rehab assignment. … Felix Hernandez (lat strain) will throw from the mound when the team returns from the break for the first time since shutting down his rehab two weeks ago due to muscle fatigue.
Athletics: Oakland has yet to name its starting pitcher for Friday’s home game against the Chicago White Sox.
Mariners: Mike Leake (7-7, 4.32 ERA) will take the mound Friday when Seattle travels to the Los Angeles Angels.