If ever there was an example of a series letdown after one filled with drama, intrigue, and excitement; this series with the Seattle Mariners would be it. As two teams whose true realistic goals for the season are to finish ahead of the other, in other words to not be in the cellar, this series lacks the pop that the previous series against the Giants had. The A’s played another snoozer tonight, and this time came out on the short end. Jason Vargas baffled the A’s for the better part of his 6.2 innings of work, striking out 10 while only allowing 3 hits, 2 of which took place in the 7th inning. He had his changeup mesmerizing the A’s hitters, they couldn’t touch it but they couldn’t lay off it.
Travis Blackley once again made the A’s look brilliant in picking him up as he had another quality start in his first outing against his former Mariners team. Blackley was in line for a hard luck loss until the A’s rally in the 7th inning tied the game, he certainly didn’t deserve to lose. He pitched 7 solid innings, while allowing just 5 hits and 2 ER, he only walked 1 and struck out 3. Jim Miller took the loss in tonight’s game on a couple singles by Casper Wells who stole 2nd after leading off with a hit, and Brendan Ryan who drove him in. That would ultimately be all the Mariners would need to polish off the A’s tonight. Tom Wilhelmson retired the A’s in order in the 9th inning to lock down the save.
The A’s inability to simply make contact against not just Vargas but Charlie Furbush and Wilhelmson as well. They struck out 14 times tonight, and gave this Mariners staff the distinction of being the first to register double digit strikeouts 2 games in a row since 1999. Not exactly a banner day for the best offense in MLB in the month of June. The offensive output they did manage came on a Yoenis Cespedes homerun against Vargas and a Jonny Gomes RBI single against Brandon League. Jemile Weeks walked in the 8th inning, and stole his first base in 35 games to give the A’s a chance to take the lead in the 8th, but the A’s couldn’t cash in and the M’s took the lead for good in the next half inning.
The A’s better enjoy the cooler weather in Seattle while they can because triple digit temperatures await them in Arlington on Thursday. The A’s will send righty Jarrod Parker to the mound with a 3-3 record and an ERA of 2.70 against veteran Kevin Millwood who is 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA. The A’s can take the series with a win tomorrow and head to the Lone Star state just 2 games under .500. This finale is extremely winnable and it would be nice to see some signs of life from the bats before taking on the Rangers.