OAKLAND — It looked more like the Mariners team we expected to see this year.
Seattle earned its fourth straight victory Thursday afternoon, beating the Athletics, 5-3, to complete the Mariners’ second sweep of the season.
After the bats busted for seven runs in the final four innings Wednesday night, they stayed hot in the series finale on Thursday. Taylor Trammell homered a two-run outfield in the third inning, and six straight batters reached base with two outs in the fourth to spark a three-run rally.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” Trammell said of the early runs. “We really want those starters to be able to have some comfort in later innings. It was huge for us.
Trammell missed the first month of the season with a broken hook in his right hand, but in just four games since his return he has already hit two crucial homers and made seven runs.
“Trammell brings a lot,” manager Scott Servais said. “The most important thing he brought was that he made some adjustments to his swing. This ball he hit today, he couldn’t have done it a year ago, or at any time in recent years. I mean, (it’s so) effortless, he didn’t hit hard, just tried to make contact, and he has some kind of ability. The ball just jumps off his bat. Huge success.”
Kolten Wong, who struggled with his new team to start the year, got the go-ahead in singles deuce in the fourth to make it 5-3. He added another single in the sixth for his third multi-game hit of the season.
“It was huge,” Servais said. “He’s had opportunities, he hasn’t come here at this stage of the season. But everyone has to contribute. The five RBIs came from the bottom of our lineup today. We need them.”
The Mariners finished the game with seven hits, including three extra hits, and perhaps most impressively, a season-high seven walks.
Trammell notched his third RBI of the game when he drew a goal-laden walk in the fourth to tie the game at 3.
“It’s huge,” he said. “Just keep the stick moving.”
After a few shaky first innings, George Kirby settled in to record his fifth straight quality start, allowing three runs in seven innings.
Kirby (3-2) held Oakland scoreless after the third.
“These races, they bother you a bit,” admitted Kirby. “But at the end of the day, you just have to keep beating the zone and attacking the batters. … I’d say that wasn’t my best thing, but I did a really good job of going inside guys all day with the sinker.
The bullpen was phenomenal again, preserving the two-run lead in the final two frames and extending their scoreless streak to 16 innings. Paul Sewald threw a perfect ninth for his ninth save.
“I think he kicked the ball very well after maybe the first one or two outings of the season,” Servais said. “He has good pace and landing the broken ball is really key for Paul. Paul has a ton of confidence. Paul believes he’s one of the best relievers in the league, and he is. When he runs, he’s hard to hit.
After dipping as many as five games below the .500 mark, the Mariners nearly evened their record at 15-16 ahead of a series of matchups against the defending World Series champion Astros this weekend in Seattle.
“We’re looking forward to this series,” Trammell said. “It will be a good test for us. Obviously, we know Houston. It’s a well-established team. We’re going to go out there, do our thing, compete every day we’re out there and hopefully get some wins.