SEATTLE — Sonny Gray overcame a shaky start to allow one run in seven innings, Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer and the Oakland Athletics won for the fifth time in six games by beating the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Saturday night.
Gray (2-0) gave up his only run in the first when Seattle failed to capitalize when they had runners at first and third and no outs. Gray stymied the Mariners from there, allowing only singles to Logan Morrison in the fourth and Robinson Cano in the sixth, and a double by Dustin Ackley in the seventh. It was another dominant performance by the young right-hander who has given up only two earned runs in three starts this season, and earned his second win in a week against Seattle.
Donaldson’s first inning blow was the only offense Oakland needed. He lined a 2-0 pitch from Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-2) over the hand-operated scoreboard for the early lead.
Oakland also got a wacky RBI single in the third from Brandon Moss that scored Coco Crisp, but the A’s should have scored more against the erratic Ramirez. In each of his five innings, Ramirez allowed the leadoff batter to reach. He gave up six hits and walked three, but managed to get through five innings, helping save Seattle’s bullpen.
Moss’ RBI came on a play where he was out for passing the runner ahead of him, one of two plays involving Ackley in left field. Ackley made a sliding grab of Moss’ drive to left center but lost the ball. Donaldson, who was on first, headed back when he saw Ackley glove the ball and was passed by Moss, creating the out.
Then in the sixth, Yoenis Cespedes hit a line drive to Ackley that he again lost just before he could transfer the ball to his bare hand. Cespedes believed he was out and never made it to first base, stopping short and heading back to the dugout. Ackley threw to shortstop Brad Miller, who threw to first for the unusual 7-6-3 putout.
Cano had Seattle’s lone RBI on a groundout in the first that scored Abraham Almonte but scoring chances were few for the Mariners. Seattle had runners at first and third and two outs in the fourth when Gray struck out Ackley. In the seventh, Ackley lined a one-out double and advanced to third on Michael Saunders’ ground out, but Gray struck out Almonte to close out his night.
Gray matched his career high with nine, three times ending an inning with a swinging strikeout. Sean Doolittle got four outs before Luke Gregerson got his first save despite giving up two singles.
NOTES: Gray has won his last five decisions going back to September 2013. . ... RHP Chris Young will make his first start for Seattle today. Manager Lloyd McClendon said they would likely need to limit Young to about 90 pitches. Young has made only one appearance so far with the Mariners. ... Oakland’s Coco Crisp was back in the lineup after missing the past four games with a sore wrist.