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Leake wins M's debut vs. A's as Zunino homers

September 2, 2017

SEATTLE -- Apparently all the Mariners needed was a little home cooking -- and a boost from new starter Mike Leake -- as they snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the A's on Friday night after returning to Safeco Field following a tough two-week road trip.Mike

SEATTLE -- Apparently all the Mariners needed was a little home cooking -- and a boost from new starter Mike Leake -- as they snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the A's on Friday night after returning to Safeco Field following a tough two-week road trip.
Mike Zunino went 2-for-3 with a home run as Seattle scored just enough to get a win for Leake, who was acquired from the Cardinals on Wednesday for Minor League infielder Rayder Ascanio. The 29-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and two runs in the first inning, but settled in after that and finished seven frames with eight hits and just the two tallies.
"That was a big shot in the arm for us, him coming in here and stopping a losing streak and hopefully getting us some momentum moving forward," said Mariners manager Scott Servais.

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto traded for Leake to bolster an injury-riddled rotation. And while the veteran had gone just 1-6 with a 6.94 ERA in his last 10 starts for St. Louis, he became the first Mariners starter to go seven innings since James Paxton on July 24.
"That first inning I was like, 'What am I putting myself into?'" Leake said. "But luckily I was able to pull it together."
The Mariners moved to 3 1/2 games back of the Twins in the chase for the American League's second Wild Card spot at 67-68.
Oakland starter Sean Manaea hasn't won a road game in six starts, dating back to June 27, as he fell to 9-9 with a 4.52 ERA. But the 6-foot-5 lefty held the Mariners to three runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, his longest outing in a month.
"The month of August wasn't very good to me," Manaea said, "so I'm trying to get things back on track and doing the work in between starts, and that's paying off."
The A's fell to 58-76 with their fourth straight loss despite a strong night from right fielder Matt Joyce, who went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Three is enough:
The Mariners scored all their runs in the third off Manaea, with Zunino getting things started with his 20th home run of the season, a 351-foot opposite field shot to right. Jean Segura then singled, stole second and scored on Mitch Haniger's base hit. After Manaea hit Robinson Cano and walked Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager drove in what turned out to be the winning run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right.

"I thought it was a good pitch," Manaea said of the first-pitch fastball to Zunino. "Nothing I can do about that. He just put a good swing on the ball and unfortunately it went out. The other two runs, I felt like I kind of let things snowball way too quickly. I just didn't do a good job of calming things down and assessing the situation. Unfortunately, it cost us the game."
Stopping the Leake: After Matt Chapman doubled with one out and moved to third on a wild pitch, the Mariners new starter finished off his outing in impressive fashion, stranding the potential tying run at third by striking out Boog Powell on an 80 mph curve and then whiffing Marcus Semien on an 81 mph slider to keep the score at 3-2 in the seventh. Leake isn't normally a big strikeout pitcher, but he tied his season high with seven K's while walking just one. More >
 "We score a couple, then in the third we had first and second and hit into a double play," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "After that, he started finding the corner more than the middle of the plate. He has a lot of movement on all his pitches. We made him throw the ball over the middle of the plate those first three innings, and then he got better after that."

"It's been a huge rebound for him. For as bad as Z was going early in the year, to overhaul his swing mechanics in the middle of the season is very difficult to do. He's done it. He had an unbelievable June, then kind of fell off the boat for a little while, but he's got back on." -- Servais, on Zunino reaching a 20-homer season

Leake became the 38th pitcher used by the Mariners this season, the second-most in MLB history and just two behind the record of 40 by the Rangers in 2014. He also is the 17th starter to be employed, which ties the Mariners' franchise record set in 1977.
A's left-hander Sam Moll made his Major League debut with two outs in the eighth inning, needing just two pitches to retire Yonder Alonso, who flied out to end the frame. More >
Athletics: The A's will send right-hander Jharel Cotton to the mound for Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT contest against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Cotton is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against Seattle this season.
Mariners:Yovani Gallardo (5-10, 5.78 ERA) gets the start in Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT game and will try to turn things around after going 0-3 with a 7.46 ERA over his last five games. But the 31-year-old has gone 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in four games, including three starts, against the A's.
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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010.