Athletics seeks bounce-back win over Mariners

MLB

Seattle right-hander Logan Gilbert takes a third crack at his first big-league win when the visiting Mariners and Oakland Athletics continue their three-game series on Tuesday night.

The Mariners got six strong innings from left-hander Yusei Kikuchi in a 4-2 win on Monday night in the first meeting of the season between the American League West rivals.

Gilbert (0-2, 9.45 ERA) makes his first start in the rivalry after making his major league debut against Cleveland on May 13 and following that with another outing against an AL Central opponent, the Detroit Tigers.

The Mariners lost those games 4-2 and 6-2, with Gilbert allowing seven of the 10 runs in just 6 2/3 innings.

The former first-round pick has had different issues in his highly scrutinized outings.

After needing just eight pitches to dispatch of the Indians 1-2-3 in the first inning of his debut, Gilbert served up a home run to Franmil Reyes two batters later.

He also was taken deep by Jose Ramirez in the third inning, a two-run shot that put the Mariners in a 4-0 hole.

The 24-year-old allowed just five hits in his four innings without issuing a walk, but two of the five hits went for home runs.

Gilbert kept the ball in the ballpark in his next outing against the Tigers, but lost track of the strike zone. He walked two in 2 2/3 laborious innings, needing 74 pitches to get eight outs amid three Detroit runs.

The Mariners gave Kikuchi a comfort zone in the series opener by scoring three times in the first three innings. Kyle Lewis’ two-run home run off A’s starter Frankie Montas made it 3-0 in the third.

Two innings later, Jarred Kelenic — the Mariners’ other top prospect — celebrated his first game in Oakland with a solo home run, helping Kikuchi record his first win over the A’s in seven career starts. The Mariners also ended a six-game losing streak.

Mariners manager Scott Servais is hoping the five days off since Gilbert’s last start does him as good as the single day on the sidelines on Sunday did for Kelenic against Oakland.

Like Gilbert, the 21-year-old Kelenic has not had the headlines-grabbing career start that the Mariners had hoped. But after going 5-for-37 with one homer before getting Sunday off, the left-handed slugger not only belted his second home run on Monday but scored two of Seattle’s four runs.

“An off day for a young player like he had (Sunday) is valuable,” Servais insisted. “Just to (take a) deep breath and not just to watch the game, but think the game as you’re watching it. That’s something I talked about with him before the game (Sunday), and hopefully it helped.”

As Servais did successfully with Kelenic, A’s manager Bob Melvin on Monday witnessed the rewards of sitting Mark Canha a day earlier in Los Angeles against the Angels.

Canha, whose day off had been prompted by being hit by a pitch in the elbow the night before, hit his 10th home run of the season on Monday.

“It swelled up toward the end of the game (Saturday),” Melvin explained. “It got him pretty good.”

In an effort to end a two-game losing streak, the A’s are scheduled to send left-hander Cole Irvin (3-5, 3.59) in search of the first win in his last four starts.

Irvin, who spent the first two seasons of his career in the National League, has never faced the Mariners.

–Field Level Media

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