Mariners 2, Athletics 1

(Oakland, CA) Heading into Oakland for a three-game series to end the nine-game road trip, the Seattle Mariners had a golden opportunity to salvage a winning road trip if they could sweep the historically bad Oakland Athletics. Game one would fall on the shoulders of Bryce Miller who made his MLB debut on Tuesday night. After struggling in Double-A this season and never pitching in Triple-A, some felt the call-up might have been a little rushed. Miller proved those critics wrong in incredible fashion. The incredible debut was salvaged by the offense as the Mariners came back late for the second straight game to take the opener from the A’s 2-1.

Neither offense got anything going through five innings of play. The story were the two young starting pitchers. Mason Miller was really good for Oakland as he didn’t allow a single hit in his seven innings of work. Mason Miller also pitched around four walks to put together his best performance of his young major league career.

In some ways he was outdone by Bryce Miller for the Mariners in his MLB debut. Miller looked like he was in the prime of his career against the lowly A’s by striking out five of the first six batters that he face in the major leagues. The fastball was exploding on hitters and he didn’t really need to use anything else. Miller not only allowed no hits through the first five innings of his career, but Bryce Miller had a perfect game brewing through five innings.

In the bottom of the 6th, Oakland finally got to the rookie. With one out, perennial Mariner killer Tony Kemp did it once again to the M’s. Kemp chased a 1-2 fastball well above the zone and slapped a grounder into center field for the first hit of the ballgame. A wild pitch moved Kemp into scoring position. Miller got Nick Allen to fly out to Teoscar Hernandez in right field and Oakland opted not to test the arm of Hernandez keeping Kemp at second with two outs. Esteury Ruiz came up with the big hit of the game for Oakland. One of the few bright spots of the season for Oakland, Ruiz smoked a liner into the corner in left field. Kemp scored easily as Ruiz trotted into second with his sixth double of the season to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.

Bryce Miller finished the inning by striking out Ryan Noda. That strikeout made it 10 for the debuting righty which is the most by any Mariner in their MLB debut in franchise history. Even more impressively was that Miller did not allow a single walk. It was another impressive debut that one upped George Kirby’s fantastic debut just a season ago. While it was against a very bad team, what Miller showed gives the Mariners a potential in-house answer to who should be the #5 starter in the rotation.

Mason Miller finished the 7th for Oakland with his no-hitter still intact but manager Mark Kotsay decided to go to the bullpen in the top of the 8th to avoid burning his young starter. Kotsay looked like he regretted the decision shortly after. Richard Lovelady came on to pitch the top of the 8th and retired Sam Haggerty to start the inning. Then, a mistake completely flipped the game on its head. Lovelady left an 88 mph fastball right down the middle and AJ Pollock made him pay. The veteran Pollock lined one over the wall in left field for a solo home run and his third homer of the season. The first Mariner hit also drove in the first Mariner run and tied the game 1-1.

Business wasn’t done in the top of the 8th for Seattle. Jose Caballero lined one into left field and used his speed to record his second double of the year to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. J.P. Crawford did his job by grounding out to first to move Caballero to third with two outs. Veteran reliever Jeurys Familia would be tasked with leaving the runner stranded for Oakland. Ty France put together a fantastic at bat to draw a walk while catcher Shea Langeliers stopped three tough pitches in the dirt to prevent Caballero from scoring. Jarred Kelenic then stepped up to the plate after narrowly missing a home run in his previous at bat that just went foul. While Kelenic would not homer, he would deliver another big hit. Kelenic hit a laser that short hopped the wall in right field for his eighth double of the season. More importantly, Caballero scored to put the Mariners up 2-1.

The score remained the same headed into the bottom of the 9th. Paul Sewald took over, looking for his eighth save of the season. Sewald ran right through the middle of the Oakland order by striking out Brent Rooker, getting Ramon Laureano to fly out to left, and finishing the game with a strikeout of Jace Peterson. Sewald’s dominant inning sealed the deal for another Mariner comeback as they hung on to win the opener 2-1.

The Mariners (13-16) will now try to keep the positive momentum rolling in game two on Wednesday at 6:40pm. Logan Gilbert (1-1, 4.23 ERA) will get the ball for the Mariners after a below average start in Philadelphia last week. Oakland (6-24) will counter with JP Sears (0-2, 6.23 ERA) who has a career ERA of 0.56 against the Mariners.

Matt’s Takeaways

I was ready to go on an absolute tangent about the offense but I will save that for another day. Bryce Miller was unbelievable. This is not a start you see from a debuting pitcher regardless of who they’re facing. Miller knew his fastball was overpowering and never went away from it. His presence on the mound and the smile and laughter he had while pitching in the most important game of his career showed that he will not be phased by big moments. His success also showed that the Mariners have figured out how to develop pitchers. First it was Logan Gilbert. Then it was George Kirby. Now, it’s Miller Time…Bryce Miller Time.

Notable Performances


  • Bryce Miller (ND)- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
  • AJ Pollock- 1-3, HR, RBI, R
  • Jarred Kelenic- 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB


  • Mason Miller (ND)- 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
  • Esteury Ruiz- 1-4, 2B, RBI
  • Tony Kemp- 1-2, BB, R




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