Mike Zunino’s first career home run wasn’t a bomb, but it powered the Seattle Mariners to a crucial win.
Zunino homered, Joe Saunders twirled a seven-inning gem and the Mariners held off the Oakland A’s 3-2. Saunders beat Tommy Milone, who threw the ball well, to hand the Mariners their 30th win of the season. Seattle is now 10.5 games back of the first-place A’s.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead early on a double-play grounder hit by Zunino. Michael Morse crushed a double into right-center field to lead off the second, and he scored on the ball hit by Zunino. Later in the game, Zunino came up big in the seventh to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish.
Raul Ibanez crushed a ball to Nate Freiman at first, and while it was hit hard, Freiman could have made the play. Dan Otero, who was making his A’s debut, was charged with the run, and it cost the A’s. Chris Young crushed a hanger into left field for an eighth-inning home run, but Oliver Perez slammed the door in the ninth.
Perez registered his first save of the season, and it happened because of Saunders. The only run scored against Saunders came on a shallow fly ball hit by Eric Sogard, one that got down in front of Jason Bay. Bay probably should have been charged with the error, but Saunders was instead charged with the run.
Saunders still managed to earn the win, as he walked just two and only allowed five hits. Saunders only struck out four batters, but he induced weak contact and shut down the A’s. Even the only run-scoring hit off of him wasn’t hit well.
While Saunders has a poor 4.80 ERA this season, he managed to piece it together for one good outing. Now, the A’s are looking to take the series, which they can do with two wins. After a draining 18-inning win over the New York Yankees on Wednesday, the A’s offense failed to score again. It now has five runs in its last 27.1 innings.
The offense has done well this year, but it isn’t doing well right now. Saunders hasn’t been great this year, but he still managed to shut down the A’s. If the A’s can’t turn the tide this weekend, we could see some worried A’s fans in the office on Monday.