Published November 20, 2014
Brendan Ryan's RBI single in the eighth inning Tuesday night lifted the Seattle Mariners to a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics to even their three-game series.
Casper Wells led off the eighth with a single, stole second base and scored the winning run.
Mariners starter Jason Vargas sparkled, striking out a career high-tying 10 in 6 2/3 innings, but was charged with two runs on three hits and two walks in a no-decision.
Erasmo Ramirez also struck out 10 in the series opener on Monday, marking the first time in almost 13 years two Mariners had at least 10 strikeouts in back- to-back games.
Vargas, who lost his previous three starts, faced the minimum through four innings and allowed just one hit -- a single -- before running into trouble in the seventh.
"You could tell right from the beginning of the ball game that he was more aggressive," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "His arm action was more consistent, his changeup fed off his fastball very well, just really commanded the ballgame, did a great job."
The Mariners snapped a two-game losing streak, moving to 9-14 in June.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer for the A's, who had a two-game win streak snapped in just their fourth loss in 14 games. Travis Blackley went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three.
The A's struck out 14 times, bringing their total for the first two games of the series to 25.
"That's a lot of strikeouts," said manager Bob Melvin. "We don't typically strikeout that much and went on quite a run there, five (strikeouts) in a row, so this wasn't our finest hour the last two days offensively."
Charlie Furbush (4-1) pitched out of a jam in the eighth inning to earn the win. He intentionally walked Cespedes with two outs, putting runners at first and second, then fanned Brandon Inge to end the inning.
Jim Miller (2-1) relieved Blackley and surrendered Wells' leadoff single in the eighth. Wells stole second as Dustin Ackley struck out and Ryan, after being up 3-0 in the count, lined a 3-2 pitch into shallow right-center to score the go-ahead run.
"I didn't want to be passive up there and take a third strike because, hitting a buck-seventy, a buck-eighty, I'm not the guy you want to walk," said Ryan. "So, just glad it worked out."
Tom Wilhelmsen threw a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Vargas struck out five straight batters before hitting Jonny Gomes leading off the third inning. Gomes was erased on a double play -- as was Brandon Hicks after he got Oakland's first hit in the fourth.
While their starter mowed through the opposing lineup, the Mariners took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Ackley led off with a single, went to second on Ichiro Suzuki's one-out hit and scored on Franklin Gutierrez's double off the base of the wall in center.
Suzuki went to third on the play and scored on Kyle Seager's sacrifice line drive, but the Mariners ran themselves out of the inning when right fielder Josh Reddick gunned down Gutierrez at third on a botched tag up.
Vargas gave up a walk in the fifth, but struck out three in the inning for the second time in the game. He faced just four batters in the sixth, walking one, before being knocked out of the game in the seventh.
Cespedes belted his eighth homer of the season to left with one down and Seth Smith chased Vargas with a two-out double. Gomes then greeted Brandon League with an RBI single to score Smith and tie the game at 2-2.
Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia were the last two Seattle pitchers to strike out at least 10 in consecutive games on Aug. 23 and 24, 1999...The Mariners are 6-3 in the season series.