SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners were hoping rookie starter Bryan Woo from Alameda could make it into the fifth inning against the Oakland A’s Monday night. Woo, still on a limited pitch count after missing time this month with forearm inflammation, bettered anything the Mariners could have hoped, scattering three hits over six innings in Seattle’s 7-0 win.
Woo struck out five and needed just 69 pitches to match his longest career outing as he led Seattle to its 13th shutout this season, tied for second with Cleveland and two back of Atlanta.
Oakland, meanwhile, was shut out for the 14th time.
“I’m always trying to be efficient. I’m always trying to go deeper into games,” said Woo, who improved to 2-3. “I think I’ve done a much better job of it the last couple of weeks, going deeper and kind of giving our bullpen a little bit more of a break.”
Things were much rougher for A’s starter Kyle Muller (1-5), who started for the first time since July 1, having made his last two appearances for Oakland in relief after spending time in the minors. On Monday, Muller struggled to get through the fourth, giving up six runs and nine hits.
“Really, I think he just got hurt on some locations of the breaking ball and a couple of fastballs,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said.
For Seattle, the offense was taken care of by young superstar outfielder Julio Rodríguez, who remained sizzling at the plate with four more hits including a two-run homer and an RBI double. Seattle’s J.P. Crawford hit his fifth leadoff homer to give the Mariners a lead that was never really challenged.
Seattle has won four straight and 12 of 13, as the hottest team in baseball kept rolling behind its suddenly unstoppable offense. The Mariners have 20 wins in August, matching the most in a month in franchise history with two games remaining.
“It’s really good. I feel like everybody is playing like we all know we could,” Rodríguez said. “It’s been really good seeing everybody having fun, seeing everybody getting good at-bats and getting on base and passing the baton, and getting the big hits when we need them.”
No one is getting more of those hits than Rodríguez right now. He extended his hitting streak to a career-best 13 games and homered for the third straight game. During his streak, Rodríguez is batting .516 (32 for 62) with five homers, six doubles and 21 RBIs.
In his last 10 games, Rodríguez has 28 hits — including five games of at least four hits.
“What we’re watching, really, it’s historical,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “As crazy to say that for a player that is that young, but to do what he is doing and for the span he’s done it for now … that’s ridiculous.”
Seattle scored at least six runs for the 12th time in 18 games, and while most of the lineup contributed it was the top of the order doing most of the damage against the lowly A’s.
Crawford hit his 12th homer on the second pitch in the bottom of the first inning from Muller. Eugenio Suárez sandwiched a pair of doubles around a walk and scored once. Teoscar Hernández had a pair of RBI singles.
Rodríguez scorched a 112 mph double in the third inning to score Crawford from first base and hit his 24th homer, a 420-foot drive in the fourth inning. For good measure, Rodríguez beat out a pair of infield grounders for hits in the sixth and eighth.
“I wish I could run as fast as Julio Rodríguez. This has got to be a really fun game when you’re that fast,” Servais joked.
Athletics: LHP Ken Waldichuk (2-7, 6.05 ERA) will take his turn as a traditional starter for the 17th time this season. Waldichuk has struggled with home runs lately, allowing five long balls in 10 2/3 innings combined over his last two starts.
Mariners: RHP George Kirby (10-8, 3.28) will make his first home start since throwing nine shutout innings against Baltimore on Aug. 12 in a game Seattle lost 1-0 in extra innings. Kirby allowed three runs and eight hits, but struck out nine in his last start against the White Sox.
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