SEATTLE (AP) — Milton Bradley's broken-bat, two-run single in the fifth brought Seattle even and Franklin Gutierrez's splintering single an inning later gave the Mariners the lead for good in a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Jason Vargas (1-1) pitched six innings for Seattle, following up on eight shutout innings from Doug Fister a night earlier, as the back of the rotation came through to give Seattle its first series victory of the season.
Down 2-0 in the fifth, Bradley dumped the first pitch from Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez into left field, sending his bat barrel nearly to third base. The hit scored two and Gutierrez's hit an inning later scored Adam Moore with the go-ahead run.
Seattle reliever Brandon League worked a scoreless seventh and eighth innings and David Aardsma converted his fourth save — he's closed all of Seattle's wins — with a perfect ninth. Aardsma has converted 14 straight saves since last August.
Bradley, with his eighth big league team, finally made a mark with the Mariners on Tuesday night with a game-winning three-run homer in the eighth inning. But he was drawing the ire of fans after just one at-bat on Wednesday.
Bradley rounded third too far after Moore's infield hit in the second and was tagged out during a rundown between third and home for the Mariners' second base-running blunder of the inning.
He was hearing the cheers again a few innings later. Seattle loaded the bases on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki and walks to Chone Figgins and Gutierrez with one-out in the fifth. Jose Lopez fouled out behind third, but Bradley muscled Gonzalez's first offering into left.
An inning later, Moore led off with a single and moved to second on Figgins' two-out walk off reliever Chad Gaudin (0-1). Gutierrez's single to left was picked clean by Eric Patterson, but he bobbled getting the ball from his glove and the lumbering Moore beat the throw home. Lopez then followed with another single to score Figgins.
Vargas is probably a placeholder until Cliff Lee returns from the disabled list. But the young lefty followed up Fister's fine effort a night earlier with one of his own. Vargas' only mistake was a middle-of-the-zone fastball that Jake Fox hit for a two-run homer to center in the second inning. The homer was his first of the season, snapping an 0 for 11 streak.
Otherwise, Vargas scattered five hits, struck out six and walked none. Seattle starters have gone 14 innings without allowing a walk.
NOTES: Suzuki snapped an 0 for 13 skid with a 45-foot dribbler up the first-base line in the fifth inning. ... Seattle swapped starters for the weekend, pushing RHP Ian Snell back to Sunday and moving LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith to Saturday. Snell has been out of town after a death in his family. ... Oakland INF Mark Ellis missed his third straight game with a strained hamstring, but manager Bob Geren said he is improving. ... The crowd of 15,978 was second-smallest in Safeco Field history.