Published November 20, 2014
Things are changing for the Seattle Mariners, both their roster as well as their results.
The Mariners, who lost a club-record 17 straight games in July, won for the fifth time in their last seven Wednesday, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-4 behind newly acquired Charlie Furbush.
The left-hander retired the first 13 batters in five strong innings and he was supported by stellar defense and a 14-hit attack.
It was just the third series sweep for the Mariners this season, the first since taking three from San Diego May 20-22. It also was their first sweep over Oakland since Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2009.
The Mariners put a lineup on the field that included six players who began the season in the minor leagues or with other teams. Veteran Jack Wilson made his first career start at third base. Mike Carp started at first base for the first time since early last season. Josh Bard made just his 14th start behind the plate.
Casper Wells started in left field for the fourth straight game since coming over from Detroit in a trade Saturday. He came along with Furbush (2-3), who was making his third career start, first for Seattle.
"It's tough to come into a situation where you're on different teams and no one has seen you play," said Wells, who went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
"It seems like there's some kind chemistry building within the team since I've been here. Everyone's kind of feeding off each other. Guys are getting hits in there, it's contagious. Pitchers are doing are great job. That's when the wins come in."
Furbush had a perfect game through 4 1-3 innings before Conor Jackson ended it with a fifth-inning double off the left-field wall that was inches away from being a home run and needed a video review.
Scott Sizemore drove Jackson home with a double.
Furbush matched his longest career outing and allowed one run and two hits with three strikeouts and no walks. It was his second career win, his first as a starter.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he was on a 65-pitch count. He threw 62.
"It's tough to go five innings with that kind of pitch count," Wedge said. "He was efficient. He used all of his pitches. He trusted his fastball. He trusted his stuff in general. He had good tempo. A lot of good things out there."
Bard had the biggest of the Mariners' 14 hits, a 2-run single in the fourth off Gio Gonzalez (9-9), who is 1-4 with a 6.26 ERA in his last five starts.
Trailing 7-1 entering the ninth, the A's rallied with Josh Willingham's 3-run home run off Jeff Gray.
Dan Cortes came in to get one out, but walked Sizemore and Brandon League came in to get Adam Rosales on a pop up and Ryan Sweeney to ground out.
League earned his 26th save in 30 opportunities.
Ichiro Suzuki had three singles, giving him 274 career hits against Oakland, second most ever by an opponent. He trails only Rod Carew (282). Suzuki is a .333 career hitter against the A's.
Mike Carp had three hits and a pair of RBI. He's now hitting .367 with six extra-base hits and 14 RBI in 14 games since being recalled on July 19.
"Even on our last (1-8) road trip we were hitting the ball. We just weren't putting together our pitching and defense," Carp said. "We're finally starting to click. It's been fun these past few days."
Wilson, who played 1,267 games without once ever playing third, said he barely got much sleep overnight "thinking about those balls coming at me that fast."
He took a bunch of hard-hit groundballs Tuesday's game and early Wednesday. He also borrowed Adam Kennedy's glove, which is a little bigger.
In the second, he dived to his left to stop a hard grounder by Willingham. In the fourth while positioned on the infield grass, he flashed his glove to snag a hard one-hopper from Coco Crisp. He got up and threw him out.
The Mariners added a couple more in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Carp and Wells' single to score Dustin Ackley.
Wells added a RBI single in the seventh and Carp drove in the final run in the eighth with a RBI single.
NOTES: With an off-day Thursday, A's manager Bob Melvin expects that his two injured players, OF David DeJesus (sore thumb) and SS Cliff Pennington (Bell's Palsy), will be fit and available Friday in Tampa. Both worked in the cage before the game and are close to being ready. ... Mariners' 1B Justin Smoak also has a thumb injury. He took a ground ball to his left thumb Tuesday and had to leave. X-rays were negative but the thumb is sore. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said it may be more than a couple days before he returns. Carp played first base ... The A's had seven hits Tuesday, ending a 17-game stretch since the All-Star break that they've had at least eight hits. That's the longest streak for an A's team since a 21-gamer by the Philadelphia A's in 1944.