Mike Minor tossed a two-hitter with eight strikeouts, Jake Lamb doubled and homered in his first game after signing with Oakland, and the Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 9-0 in the nightcap of their doubleheader on Monday.
Seattle won the opener 6-5, rallying from a 5-0 deficit and scoring twice in the sixth inning with two outs to earn a split and stay on the heels of the Houston in the AL West. Seattle is 1 ½ games behind the Astros for second place.
The games were played with a layer of smoke hovering above the field at T-Mobile Park, even with the retractable roof of the stadium closed. Wildfires on the West Coast have suffocated much of the Pacific Northwest with unhealthy air conditions that brought into question whether the games would even be played.
“I’m a healthy 22-year-old. I shouldn’t be gasping for air or missing oxygen. I’ll leave it at that,” Oakland’s Game 1 starter Jesus Luzardo said.
A's manager Bob Melvin said several players were complaining during the second game about how bad the air was on the field.
“Initially when I went out there, I could feel it, smell it, whatever,” Minor said. “And then as you got going (I) didn’t really notice it. Got into game mode, I guess. I didn't really have that long an innings. I felt like they were pretty smooth. But I know a lot of the other guys were talking about it, saying how difficult it was.”
The doubleheader was a makeup of three games scheduled for earlier this month that were postponed after Oakland had a player test positive for the coronavirus. The third of the three games to be made up will take place on Sept. 26 in Oakland as part of another doubleheader.
“I think it was OK breathing, but we definitely noticed it,” Seattle center fielder Kyle Lewis said. “The sky was all foggy and smoky, it definitely wasn’t a normal situation, definitely a little weird.”
Minor (1-5) picked up his first victory of the season in his third start since being acquired by the A’s from Texas. He was nearly unhittable, the Mariners only hits coming on Donovan Walton’s single leading off the third inning and Lewis' double in the seventh. Minor walked two.
Ramon Laureano added a key double as part of Oakland’s five-run third inning. Laureano dropped a blooper just inside the right-field line to conclude a 10-pitch at-bat. Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate. Lamb added a double in the inning and hit a solo shot in the sixth. Mark Canha also hit a two-run homer in the sixth, both off reliever Brady Lail.
“I just saw this was a good opportunity for me. A chance to come in and get some ABs and hopefully contribute to a winning team in a playoff mode,” Lamb said. “This is a great fit for me.”
Laureano was robbed of a grand slam in the first inning of game two. With two outs, Laureano drove a pitch from Jimmy Yacabonis (0-1) to the wall in deep left-center, only to have Lewis pull back the home run.
“I knew I was gonna have a chance if I could time it up right,” Lewis said. “I was able to get back there and time it up right and make the play. That was just a huge moment. I was hoping that would be able to propel us to another win. I was excited.”
It was another highlight in Lewis’ rookie season that included a two-run home run and a bases loaded walk that scored the winning run in the opener.
Seattle trailed 5-0 in the opener after home runs by Sean Murphy and Marcus Semien off Marco Gonzales. But Seattle chipped away behind solo homers from Luis Torrens and Jose Marmolejos, and Lewis’s 10th home run.
Tim Lopes’ third double of the game drove in Phillip Ervin with two outs in the sixth inning, tying it at 5. Oakland’s Joakim Soria (2-2) struggled with his control and walked three straight batters after Lopes’ double, the last one on four pitches to Lewis.
Despite giving up a season-high five earned runs, Gonzales (6-2) earned the victory.
Athletics: RF Stephen Piscotty sprained his knee in the first game and was replaced after the fourth inning. Melvin said it was related to Piscotty’s patellar tendon, but had no other information.
Lamb was designated for assignment last week by Arizona. The move with Lamb made sense after Oakland lost Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman last week. Chapman strained his right hip and is expected to undergo surgery. Lamb didn’t get much playing time for the Diamondbacks this season and had just five hits in 43 at-bats for a .116 average.
Because of the retractable roof, doubleheaders are rare occurrences in Seattle. Monday’s was the first since Aug. 28, 2004 against Kansas City and as the 17th all-time doubleheader played in Seattle.
Athletics: Oakland opens a two-game series at Colorado on Tuesday. LHP Sean Manaea (4-2, 4.46) will start the opener.
Mariners: Seattle hosts San Francisco for a pair starting Tuesday. RHP Ljay Newsome (0-0, 3.24) still start the first game for Seattle.