Mariners drop into tie for AL West lead with 3-1 loss to A’s as Rodriguez, Kirby scratched

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 29: Nick Allen #2 of the Oakland Athletics tags Mike Ford #20 of the Seattle Mariners out and throws to first base during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park on August 29, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner

The Seattle Mariners’ two-day stay alone atop the AL West ended with a 3-1 loss Tuesday night to the major league-worst Oakland Athletics, who built an early lead on home runs by Seth Brown and Shea Langeliers.

Star outfielder Julio Rodríguez was scratched of a pinched nerve in his left foot that left him day to day, and starting pitcher George Kirby was scratched before the game because of illness and replaced by Luke Weaver (2-5). First baseman Ty France left after two innings with a bruised left thumb sustained on a pickoff.

"Stuff happens," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "We play so many games. We’ve been on such a hot streak where everything kind of has gone our way. So (there’s) gonna be a little bump in the road, a little adversity."

Seattle had won 12 of its previous 13 games, turning a 7 1/2-game deficit into a one-game lead over Texas. The Rangers won 2-1 at the New York Mets, matching the Mariners at 75-57. Houston is a percentage point back at 76-58.

Josh Rojas singled with one out in the ninth and J.P. Crawford doubled to put the tying run on second. But Oakland closer Trevor May, who was born in Longview, about a two-hour drive from Seattle, struck out Eugenio Suárez on an outside sweeper.

Seattle had been 8-0 against the A’s this year.

"We’re definitely in the seat of spoiler and we want to ruin as many dreams as possible," May said.

Brown hit a solo shot in the first inning for Oakland’s first run of the series and his first homer since July 22. Langeliers added a two-run drive in the second for Oakland (39-94). It was Langeliers’ fifth homer in his past eight games.

"We all know Shea has the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark, and it was a long stretch for him trying to figure out and make adjustments," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. "I think his swing looks great right now."

Seattle’s Cade Marlowe drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth from Ken Waldichuk, who allowed one hit in four innings.

Sean Newcomb (1-0), the third of six A’s pitchers, struck out four in 1 2/3 innings for his first win with Oakland.

May got his 15th save in 18 chances, finishing a four-hitter.

"The bullpen came in and did an unbelievable job," Kotsay said. "That’s a game this year that we’ve seen — our offense scoring early and not adding on, and us not being able to hold the lead. And so tonight was a great sign of the progress we’ve made."

Weaver allowed seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in his first start with Seattle. The 30-year-old right-hander signed with the Mariners last Tuesday after being released by Cincinnati.

"(Kirby) was sick most of the night and just felt terrible today and when he came in, we just felt best that we move on and not pitch him in the ballgame tonight," Servais said.

"George loves to be out there. He’s an awesome competitor, but we’ve gotta do the right thing. He was always under the weather."

The announced attendance of 44,280 was the largest Tuesday crowd at T-Mobile Park since Seattle’s 2014 home opener.

Seattle rookie RHP Bryce Miller (8-4, 3.90 ERA) takes the mound for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale. Oakland counters with RHP Zach Neal (1-0, 6.88), who made his first major league start since 2016 last Friday.