With Cole Irvin’s words as motivation, Mariners aim to beat A’s again

Sports

If you’re looking for a reason as to how the Seattle Mariners have defeated Oakland 11 consecutive times this season, Athletics left-hander Cole Irvin might have one.

In May, making his first start against Seattle, Irvin allowed four runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Afterward, Irvin said, “A team like that should not be putting up 10 (hits) against me or anyone.”

Irvin made four more starts against Seattle this season, never pitching more than five innings in any of them and finishing 0-5 with an 8.69 ERA.

“Baseball has a way of humbling itself,” Irvin said. “To be honest, it goes back to the comments I made early in the season. They’re hungry every time. They want to face me and beat me into the ground, and they did that every time I faced them. I wasn’t good enough. It’s embarrassing on my end.

“There’s something about us they don’t like, probably from my comments early in the year. They got more blood in the water, and they’re hungry.”

The Mariners (88-70), seeking to snap a 20-year postseason drought, pulled within a half-game of the Boston Red Sox for the American League’s second and final wild-card berth with a 4-2 victory against the A’s on Tuesday night as Seattle’s Mitch Haniger hit his 100th career homer.

The A’s (85-73) are 3 1/2 games back with four to play and will be eliminated from playoff contention unless they can end their skid against the host Mariners on Wednesday night.

“They’ve had their way with us,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “But when we take the field (Wednesday), we expect to win. It doesn’t feel very good to get beat that many times by one team. But you have to go out there and earn it the next day.”

Melvin, a three-time manager of the year, has been beaten at his own game by Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team has won three in a row and nine of its past 10 games.

Instead of starting the struggling Yusei Kikuchi, the Mariners’ lone All-Star Game representative, on Tuesday, Servais went with fellow left-hander Tyler Anderson on two days’ rest after he was shelled Saturday against the host Los Angeles Angels.

On Tuesday, Anderson went four innings, allowing one run — a solo homer by Chad Pinder — while throwing 40 of 46 pitches for strikes.

In his postgame Zoom call with reporters, Servais held up his lineup card, which had multiple strokes with a highlighter and pen.

“This is the most unique card I’ve ever had,” Servais said of the possibilities he drew up. “It had all the contingencies on there, so it was a crazy night. You never know what’s going to happen in the game, but you’re planning for everything, and as you’re knocking off each inning, it gets a little bit easier knowing that we could get to our back-end guys.”

Five Mariners relievers gave up one unearned run on five hits over five innings to close the victory.

The A’s are scheduled to start right-hander Frankie Montas (13-9, 3.48 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday against Mariners rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert (6-5, 4.83).

Montas is 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA in nine career appearances against Seattle, including 0-1 in two starts this season.

Gilbert doesn’t have a decision in three starts against the A’s, but the Mariners have won each of those contests. Gilbert’s ERA in the three games is 4.97.

–Field Level Media

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