SEATTLE — For all his mighty struggles early on, it looked like Sean Manaea might get off the hook for a loss Monday night at Safeco Field.
Instead, the A’s awakening with the bats turned out to be just a tease as they lost 6-5 to the Mariners and extended their losing streak to four.
The A’s, trailing 6-3, scored twice in the ninth but left the bases loaded as Adam Rosales took a called third strike on a full-count fastball from Tony Zych.
Manaea, after missing two starts on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, issued four walks in a nightmarish first and finished with the strangest of pitching lines: 5 innings, 2 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts.
Seattle jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, though the A’s closed to within 4-3 on homers from Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt. But Oakland’s bullpen faltered again as Liam Hendriks surrendered Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the eighth to give the Mariners a 6-3 cushion.
The opener of this three-game series pitted two teams looking to reverse their fortunes. The Mariners were swept in four games at Toronto as their injuries continue mount. The A’s came in having surrendered three late-game leads in being swept by Texas.
The teams combined for just nine hits on a chilly night in which the temperature at first pitch was 51 degrees, the cold air sweeping through the openings underneath Safeco Field’s retractable roof.
Oakland has fallen to a season-high six games below .500 at 16-22. That includes a 5-14 road record that is the worst in the majors.
Starting pitching report: Manaea (1-3) labored through a 38-pitch first inning in his first outing since leaving an April 26 start at Anaheim with tightness in his left shoulder. He issued four walks that inning, including two that forced in runs, and threw just nine of his first 23 pitches for strikes. Trailing 2-0 as he took the mound in the second, Manaea gave up Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer to straightaway center on a 1-2 fastball that made it 4-0.
But although the A’s bullpen was active as early as the first, Manaea steadied himself and retired nine a row from the third through the fifth and left after 88 pitches. His fastball sat between 91 and 93 and he went to a sharp slider for several of his seven strikeouts.
Bullpen report: Frankie Montas relieved Manaea and gave manager Bob Melvin two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. But Hendriks, so dominant until this six-game road trip began, struggled for the second outing in a row. He gave up a walk and two hits in the eighth, including Seager’s two-run bomb to right-center, though one of the runs was unearned because of an error. That extended the Mariners’ lead to 6-3 and made it a much tougher comeback effort in the ninth.
At the plate: The A’s chased Seattle closer Edwin Diaz from the game in the ninth, but they stranded nine runners and finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
True to form, the A’s did most of their damage with the long ball. Davis snapped a 12-game homerless streak when he capped a 12-pitch battle with Yovani Gallardo (2-3) by drilling a solo shot to straightaway center, his 11th on the season. An inning later, Vogt hit a two-run homer to right that gave him his first homer since Opening Night. That snapped a career-long 27-game homerless streak for Vogt, who came in hitting just .213.
They scored twice in the ninth to pull within a run on Jed Lowrie’s bases loaded walk and Davis’ run-scoring groundout.
In the field: Chad Pinder’s throwing error in the eighth led to an unearned run on Seager’s two-run homer.
Attendance: The announced turnout was 15,431.
Up next: Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.21) takes the mound for Oakland and Chase De Jong (0-3, 7.85) goes for the Mariners in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. game.