SEATTLE (AP) — Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin feels pretty confident in his team's chances when he can hand a three-run lead over to his bullpen in the late innings.
But Saturday night wasn't kind to A's bullpen as the Seattle Mariners rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the seventh inning and scored two more in the eighth to hand Oakland a 7-5 loss.
"When we have a 5-2 lead like that, we feel it's pretty much in the bank," Melvin said. "Just didn't happen tonight."
The A's had stretched their lead out in the seventh inning. Jed Lowrie doubled and the Mariners elected to intentionally walk Yoenis Cespedes. After a Brandon Moss strike out, Yoervis Medina relieved and Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick each singled in a run to give the A's a 5-2 cushion.
The lead didn't last long as Seattle rallied in bottom half of the inning. After a Kyle Seager single and Kendrys Morales walk, Jerry Blevins hung a curveball and Raul Ibanez delivered a three-run home run into the right field seats to even the game up at 5-5.
"He doesn't want to keep the curveball in the middle of the plate, he wants to get to the other side and it just didn't get there," Melvin said. "He's hasn't made too many bad pitches this year in situations like that. That one just stayed in the middle."
Blevins was ultimately more frustrated with the walk to Morales that gave Seattle the opportunity to tie the game.
"The pitch to Ibanez wasn't a terrible pitch," Blevins said. "He hit it really well but I'm more upset about the walk to put the tying run to the plate. That is something you don't do."
Ryan Cook (1-1) came in to replace Blevins following the home run and worked out of the inning before running into trouble of his own in the eighth.
Brendan Ryan led off with a single off Cook and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Endy Chavez reached with a bunt single to put runners at the corners and took second on indifference.
Franklin then came through with the single to left field to score Ryan and Chavez to give the Mariners the lead. His three hits and three RBI matched career-highs and it was the first game-winning hit of his career.
"I'm just trying to put something in play, give ourselves a chance to score anything," Franklin said. "It's better to put the ball in play than to have a swing and a miss trying to hit a long ball."
Medina (2-2) earned the victory with 2 1-3 innings of scoreless work to close out the ball game.
In his first game back from the disabled list, Franklin Gutierrez homered to right-center field in his first at-bat to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Following walks by Justin Smoak and Henry Blanco, Franklin came through with a two-out single to score Smoak and extend the lead to 2-0.
Oakland got a run back in the third on Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly.
The Mariners chased A's starter Dan Straily from the game in the fourth inning. Straily lasted 3 1-3 innings — the shortest outing of his career — while allowing six hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out five.
"He just didn't have a good release point today," Melvin said. "He was teetering from the beginning: it was what, six hits and three walks in just over three inning. He just had a rough start."
Lowrie came through again with a single to score a pair and give the A's a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Oakland added on in the seventh inning. Lowrie doubled and the Mariners elected to intentionally walk Yoenis Cespedes. After a Brandon Moss struck out, Medina relieved and Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick each singled in a run to give the A's a 5-2 cushion.
Aaron Harang went five innings allowing six hits and three runs for the Mariners. He walked two and struck out three.
Notes: In 11 games against Seattle this season, Lowrie is batting .436 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. ... Melvin said catcher John Jaso may be out until after the team's off-day on Monday with a left hand abrasion. "It's still bothering him so we'll see how he is tomorrow. There's a distinct chance we may to go through the off-day."