Solo Homers Push A’s Past M’s 3-1 for Manaea’s First Win

April 21, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea throws to the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 21, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND–The Oakland Athletics won their fourth-straight game Friday night at the Coliseum, topping the Seattle Mariners 3-1. Sean Manaea went six innings to pick up his first win of the season and Trevour Plouffe and Yonder Alonso each hit solo home runs off Hisashi Iwakuma to open the weekend series. Santiago Casilla nailed down his third save of the year to pull the A’s (9-8) a game over .500.

Manaea (1-1, 4.43 ERA) handled the M’s lineup with poise, walking only three batters in his six innings of work. The young southpaw struck out six M’s while allowing only one run on a two-out triple to Mitch Haniger in the top of the third for a 1-0 Seattle lead.

“The slider has really come a long way for him,” said Melvin. “That’s a big pitch for him. Whether it’s back footing righties, away to lefties, 2-3 pitches mixed in. All-in-all gave us six solid innings allowing one run and we turned it over to the bullpen.”

The A’s deep lineup, currently ranked third in the league in homers, came through for the emerging pitcher. The no. eight hitter tagged starter Iwakuma (0-2, 5.31 ERA) with a deep homer to center in the bottom of the fifth. It was Plouffe’s 100th career homer and 4th homer in 7 games.

“This is a true power guy,” said Melvin of his third baseman. “He had some injuries last year which, his numbers were down because of injury. But when he gets on a roll… He’s not swinging particularly well here and he’s still hitting homers, and big homers. He’ll find a streak where he gets really hot. He’s the type of guy who can carry a team.

Alonso, a free-agent-to-be, launched the winning run in the bottom of the sixth, crushing Iwakuma’s first offering over the wall in right center field for his third homer of the season. For the A’s, it was another homer from an usual spot in the line-up, the two-hole.

“We’ve talked about when we’re good,” said Melvin. “What we feel like is good for us is the length of the line-up,”

Stephen Vogt would score Jed Lowrie in the sixth as well on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1. From there, Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle and Casilla would all toss scoreless frames. The A’s look to add to their winning record Saturday when Jharel Cotton takes the mound in the matinee. He’ll be opposed by Seattle lefty Ariel Miranda.

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