OAKLAND -- Backed by a four-run first inning against Felix Hernandez, the A's pieced together a tidy bullpen day to edge the Mariners, 4-3, and avoid a three-game sweep at the Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.The injury-depleted A's trotted out five relievers opposite Hernandez, beginning with righty Josh Lucas, who allowed
OAKLAND -- Backed by a four-run first inning against Felix Hernandez, the A's pieced together a tidy bullpen day to edge the Mariners, 4-3, and avoid a three-game sweep at the Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.
The injury-depleted A's trotted out five relievers opposite Hernandez, beginning with righty Josh Lucas, who allowed two runs on three hits and three walks across two innings in his first career start.
Ample support arrived early, though.
The A's -- who plated two runs or fewer in each of their previous seven home games -- tagged Hernandez for four hits in the first inning, including back-to-back singles by Matt Joyce and Marcus Semien to open the home half. Jed Lowrie delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly to end Oakland's 14-inning scoreless streak, and Stephen Piscotty put the A's on top with a two-out, two-run double. Dustin Fowler added an RBI single.
That's all they would need to bury Hernandez, who retired 16 of his final 17 batters. The A's, meanwhile, turned to Chris Hatcher, who provided two scoreless innings following Lucas' 52-pitch outing.
"I tried to keep it as much of a relief feel as possible," Lucas said. "I'm not happy with it. It could've been worse, but we got the win and that's all that matters. Everyone in the 'pen is shoving right now, so we just gotta keep it rolling."
Yusmeiro Petit was next in line, orchestrating three shutout innings with four strikeouts to earn the win.
"We've had to do this a few times," manager Bob Melvin said. "We've had some practice at it. Petit was terrific, to give us three like that. It's one thing trying to cover a day, but you've got to have an eye for tomorrow and the next day and the next day. We don't have an off-day for a while. So using guys multiple innings was key for us today, and Petit giving us three was great."
The A's converted five double plays to keep the Mariners at a distance, hanging on after closer Blake Treinen surrendered an RBI double to Kyle Seager in the eighth after inheriting a pair of baserunners from Lou Trivino. Treinen returned for the ninth to secure three quick outs, capping an impressive relief display by a tireless group.
Oakland relievers have totaled 183 2/3 innings, marking the third highest total among American League clubs.
"We have a great bullpen," Petit said. "We haven't had much of a chance to rest lately, but this bullpen is a lot different from years past. This is what the team wanted. This has been a tough month for us physically, but now the really tough part is coming. The mental part. But we have to keep working physically as well to last the whole season. It's six months, not two months. We have to keep fighting. The season is only getting started."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Lucas was already up to 15 pitches when he loaded the bases with no outs to bring Nelson Cruz to the plate. The right-hander worked a full count against Cruz, before getting him to ground into a double play. Lucas then struck out Seager to limit the damage to one run in the first, as the A's prepared to post a four-spot.
"You're looking at bases loaded right there and nobody out and Nelson Cruz at the plate," Melvin said. "You're thinking if you can get out of it with two, let alone just one, and then you score four right after that. The quick swing, and the big swing as far as the momentum went in the game in the first inning was obviously our best inning offensively."
The A's five double plays were their most since turning five against the Royals on Aug. 2, 2010. Only seven times since the start of the 1998 season have they recorded as many. The Oakland record is six, accomplished twice and not since May 17, 1995.
HE SAID IT
"I'm prideful by just taking it pitch by pitch. I know I need to throw a lot of outs, and I didn't want to throw too many pitches. So I just tried to keep the ball down and get ahead early in the count." -- Petit, who needed just 32 pitches in three innings
The A's will send left-hander Sean Manaea to the mound against the D-backs on Friday at 6:35 p.m. PT to open a three-game series at the Coliseum. After a strong start to the season, Manaea has struggled in May, posting a 5.96 ERA in four starts this month. Arizona will counter with left-hander Patrick Corbin (4-1, 2.60 ERA).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.