Mike Leake has found the consistency he was looking for earlier in the season. Seattle manager Scott Servais is hoping the rest of his club can do the same after the Mariners spent the past two weeks reshaping their roster and trading away a couple top power hitters.
Leake matched his season high with seven strikeouts in seven innings — his fourth consecutive start of seven innings or more — and Seattle rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Sunday.
“Mike has really been on point the last four times out,” Servais said. “It’s just been really fun to watch him pitch. He just keeps going out there grinding and keeping us in the ballgame. Getting through seven innings was big.”
Leake (6-6) allowed two earned runs and seven hits and didn’t walk a batter to win his third straight start. The right-hander gave up two solo home runs and was in line to take a loss until the Mariners rallied, continuing a 12-game stretch when they’ve alternated wins and losses.
“There’s a lot of heart on this team,” Leake said. “You have a lot of young guys that want to win and they want to play the game right. It shows. Even though we’re a back-and-forth team, it shows that there’s some heart in this team.”
Mallex Smith homered for the second time in three games for the last-place Mariners, a day after they traded AL home run leader Edwin Encarnación to the New York Yankees. Seattle traded Jay Bruce to Philadelphia on June 2.
The Mariners trailed 3-2 when Lou Trivino (2-5) issued a one-out walk. Domingo Santana followed with a fly that bounced off right fielder Mark Canha’s glove for his first error in 153 games, putting runners at first and second.
“I lost it in the sun for a second,” Canha said. “It was like the ball was falling faster than I could run. It was just a brutal play. Brutal. You have to make that play.”
After Daniel Vogelbach walked to load the bases, Kyle Seager ended a 2-for-20 funk with a go-ahead double. Tom Murphy added a sacrifice fly and Dee Gordon hit an RBI triple.
Roenis Elías pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
“We’ve moved on from a few veteran players so giving opportunity to young guys,” Servais said. “But more importantly, the team (is) starting to realize OK, this is our team now moving forward. Certainly we had a rough night, but I think this thing settled down here with our roster. Hopefully we play a little bit better together.”
Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for Oakland and Ramón Laureano also went deep.
Oakland starter Tanner Anderson allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
WHO’S ON FIRST
Austin Nola made his major league debut and started at first base for Seattle after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma before the game. The Mariners plan to use a rotation at first base to replace Encarnación. Vogelbach will get the majority of starts there. Ryon Healy, who is currently on the injured list, will figure in the mix when he returns. Nola, the older brother of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, spent seven-plus years in the minors before getting called up. He singled in his first at-bat.
Mariners: Healy (lower back) will have an epidural in the coming days and will be out longer than originally anticipated. … Felix Hernandez (shoulder stiffness) will be seen by a doctor after the right-hander pulled himself out of a rehab start Friday night because of fatigue.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea threw 45 pitches in a simulated game at the team’s practice facilities in Arizona as he attempts to come back from shoulder surgery. Manager Bob Melvin said Manaea will throw about 60 pitches in another simulated game before heading out on a rehab assignment.
Mariners: Seattle plans to use an opener Monday against Kansas City, although Servais has not said who that will be. LHP Tommy Milone is expected to come in after the opener.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (6-3, 4.63) pitches against the Orioles at the Coliseum on Monday. Fiers is 4-0 in his previous seven starts dating to his no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 7.
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