|Date of game: 9/2/2014
Seattle Mariners (73-63) at Oakland Athletics (79-58), 10:05 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Adam Dunn provided the jolt the Oakland Athletics' offense needed in his debut with the team. Now, he'll try to help them secure a series win on Tuesday when they play the middle test of a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum.
Dunn belted a two-run homer in his initial at-bat with his new team, sparking a five-run first inning that carried the A's to a 6-1 victory.
Geovany Soto added a two-run single during the big opening frame and Jason Hammel turned in his best start in an Oakland uniform to help the A's bounce back from this past weekend's four-game sweep at the hands of the AL West- leading Angels.
Oakland, which trails the Angels by 4 1/2 games, mustered a paltry one run total over its three most recent defeats.
Hammel (2-5), meanwhile, limited the Mariners to three hits -- including a solo homer to Brad Miller -- over eight innings in his sharpest effort since coming to Oakland in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in July.
Seattle's Chris Young (12-7) wasn't nearly as effective, recording only two outs while being rocked for five runs on four hits and two walks.
Dunn, obtained from the Chicago White Sox on Sunday in exchange for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn, stepped to the plate with two out and Josh Reddick aboard in the first and launched a towering fly ball that cleared the wall in right, staking the A's to a 2-0 lead and paving the way for an eventual breakout by the Oakland bats.
"We've really been lacking energy, and (Dunn) comes up to the plate and you're thinking to yourself, 'Boy, wouldn't it be something', and he delivers," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "You got goose bumps. It was awesome."
Getting the call for the A's on Tuesday will be right-hander Sonny Gray, who is coming off an August in which he went 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA in six starts. He had been 5-0 in July.
Gray, who is 13-7 with a 3.03 ERA, did not get a decision on Thursday against the Angels, allowing three runs and six hits with three walks in seven innings of a 4-3 loss.
The 24-year-old hurler could get himself untracked Tuesday, as he owns a perfect 4-0 mark versus the Mariners and has surrendered just four earned runs in his five starts against them, spanning 32 2/3 innings (1.10 ERA).
Seattle, meanwhile, will counter with righty James Paxton, who was remarkable his last time out and has allowed one earned run or less in his last four starts. Paxton scattered four hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a win over Texas last Tuesday and improved to 4-1 to go along with a 1.83 ERA.
That was his fifth start after missing four months with a lat strain and shoulder issues.
"I feel like I'm getting closer with each start," Paxton said. "My stuff is starting to come around a little bit better each time. I just need to keep on pushing forward and get that feel earlier in the game so I can save some pitches."
For his career Paxton is 7-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 starts.
Only two other major league pitchers have had seven wins and an ERA as low as 1.71 in the first 11 starts of their career -- Steve Rogers in 1973 (7-3, 1.28 ERA) and Phil Niekro (8-3, 1.20 ERA).
Seattle has split 14 matchups with the A's this season.