Bryce Miller tosses six scoreless innings, Mariners beat A's 6-1
SEATTLE - Watching him during spring training, Seattle manager Scott Servais saw the potential in young righty Bryce Miller even if he was starting off in the minors.
Thrust into duty with the Mariners due to injury, Miller is blowing away even the most lofty expectations that came with his arrival.
Miller limited Oakland to two hits over six shutout innings to continue his spectacular early success, and the Mariners used a big inning to beat the Athletics 6-1 on Wednesday night.
"There’s going to be some adjustments he’s going to need to make along the way, the more teams get to see him and the book gets on him a little bit more," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "But, you know, if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. And the results are outstanding."
Seattle scored five times and sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth inning, providing more than enough offense for Miller and a trio of relievers.
Miller (3-1) has pitched at least six innings in each of his five starts. He’s allowed just two hits in three of the five outings and has allowed four earned runs in 31 1/3 innings. He’s the first pitcher since at least 1901 to throw at least six innings and allow four or fewer hits in each of his first five appearances.
Miller made his debut May 2 against the Athletics with 10 strikeouts, two hits and one run allowed. And three weeks later, Oakland still couldn’t solve the young right-hander.
Of his 90 pitches Wednesday, 73 were fastballs.
"The plan is the same, go out and attack with the fastball and get ahead, and until it’s proven that I need to stray away from it then I’m going to keep riding with it," Miller said.
The A’s (10-41) lost their seventh straight game and 15th in 17 games. They are the third team since 1901 to have a winning percentage below .200 after 51 games, joining Boston (.196) in 1932 and Washington (.188) in 1904.
Miller added to the misery, allowing only four baserunners to go with six strikeouts. Aledmys Díaz’s single in the third inning was Oakland’s first hit and Ryan Noda’s check swing blooper in the sixth parachuted into the outfield for a single. Miller also walked one and hit a batter.
But for the most part the Athletics couldn’t touch Miller. He capped his night striking out Shea Langeliers on a 95 mph fastball to end the sixth inning.
"When you lose a guy like Robbie Ray, and then you have a young guy come in like that and take the opportunity and run with it’s fantastic. Great to see," Servais said.
Díaz’s double in the seventh off reliever Matt Brash scored JJ Bleday with Oakland’s only run.
Seattle’s offense came alive in the fourth inning, batting around against Ken Waldichuk. The Mariners had five hits and three walks in the inning off Waldichuk (1-4), including Sam Haggerty’s two-run double and RBI singles from J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodríguez.
"He just started pitching behind in the count in that inning," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. "He wasn’t getting ahead of hitters and that’s going to hurt you when your behind in the count against these guys."
Teoscar Hernández hit his ninth homer of the season leading off the seventh inning.
Mariners: 1B Ty France was out of the lineup after getting hit by a pitch on the outside of his left hand late in Tuesday’s win. France’s hand was slightly swollen but the Mariners felt fortunate to avoid a significant injury. France said the pitch hit the outside of his palm and avoided both his wrist and pinkie finger.
Athletics: LHP JP Sears (0-3, 4.99) has a 3.57 ERA in four starts in the month of May. Sears threw six innings and allowed two runs in his last start against Houston.
Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (2-2, 3.81) looks for his second straight win after throwing six innings and allowing two runs in a win over Atlanta in his last outing.