SEATTLE -- — Sean Manaea struck out a career-high 13 in seven strong innings, Ramón Laureano drove in two runs and the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 Thursday night in the opener of a 10-game road trip.
Manaea was overpowering in winning for the first time since June 14, after having lost his previous four decisions. The left-hander's dominance combined with just enough offense got Oakland’s important road trip off to a winning start.
Manaea threw a complete-game four-hitter against the Mariners in early June in Seattle.
“I’m just going out there and pitching, trying to put up zeros,” Manaea said. “It's not like coming here I'm like ‘yeah, I’m going to be unbelievable,' or something like that.”
Manaea mixed his fastball with a sweeping curveball and changeup to get 18 swings and misses from Seattle batters. Ten of the first 15 outs recorded by the A’s came on strikeouts, and eight of the nine batters in Seattle’s lineup struck out against the Manaea (7-6), who allowed just three walks.
“He’s having a hell of a year. We haven’t scored a ton of runs for him,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t think his record is indicative of how well he’s pitched this year.”
Tom Murphy was the only Seattle batter not to strike out against Manaea. He grounded out, walked and hit a long solo home run on a 1-2 pitch in the seventh inning that pulled Seattle within 2-1.
It was one of three hits allowed by Manaea, who threw 106 pitches and was lifted after the seventh inning.
“The life on his fastball tonight, I thought early in the ballgame, the first couple of innings is as hard as I've seen him throw, maybe ever, and we've seen him a lot,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Laureano’s first RBI came in the fifth inning as the last of three two-out hits that scored Oakland’s first run. Laureano’s grounder off the leg of Seattle starter Chris Flexen allowed Elvis Andrus to score.
Mitch Moreland and Ryan Murphy had back-to-back doubles with one out in the sixth inning, ending Flexen’s night.
Flexen (9-4), who had won his last three starts, lost for the first time since June 2 when he was bested by the A’s. Flexen allowed two runs and failed to get through six innings for just the second time in 10 starts.
“I was able to limit the crooked numbers, held it to two and kept us in the game,” Flexen said. “I was trying to go as deep as I could in the game and the pitch count got away from me a little bit there at the end.”
Manaea had a 4.13 ERA over his previous five starts. He was the first A’s pitcher to have 13 or more strikeouts and allow one run or less since Todd Stottlemyre on June 16, 1995.
Mariners: OF Kyle Lewis will begin light hitting in the batting cage later this week as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. It will be the first time Lewis has done anything with the bat since undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus. Manager Scott Servais said Lewis has not progressed to running or jumping. ... OF Jake Fraley no longer has COVID-19 symptoms but remains in isolation in California after testing positive last weekend. Servais said the earliest Fraley could rejoin the team is Monday, if he clears all testing.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montes (8-8, 4.33) has a 3.74 ERA and allowed just three homers over his past nine starts. Montes gave up 11 homers in his first 10 outings of the year.
Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikcuhi (6-5, 3.92) looks to get back on track after two straight poor outings. Kikuchi allowed seven runs and nine hits in a loss to the Angels in his last start and has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two combined.
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