Donaldson: 'When you're in a skid it's not easy to get that first win'
Jarrod Parker held the Mariners hitless until Kelly Shoppach's two-out, two-run homer on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SEATTLE (AP) After losing five games in a row, the Oakland Athletics were ready for something to go right. So when Josh Donaldson gave the A's an early lead with a solo home run in the second inning, his teammates got a confidence boost.
"It was nice," Donaldson said. "I could tell on the bench a little bit, everybody could just - there was a little sigh of relief. We got a lead, and let's play the game the way we know how."
A couple more homers by Daric Barton and Brandon Moss helped Oakland add to the lead, just enough to hold off the Seattle Mariners' late comeback attempts as the Athletics earned 4-3 win Saturday night.
Jarrod Parker (2-5) did his part on the mound, holding the Mariners hitless until Kelly Shoppach's two-out, two-run homer on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning.
Parker left in the seventh after giving up another two hits and a run. From there, the Mariners made several pushes for a comeback but came up short, stranding runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings as the Athletics' bullpen kept pitching out of jams.
"That's something they do," Parker said. "They're a confident bunch of guys. For them to get themselves in a little bit of trouble, I don't think they fret. Nobody else does."
Jed Lowrie had three hits and an RBI for Oakland, which ended its season-long losing streak.
The Mariners were hoping starter Brandon Maurer (2-5) would benefit from 10 days rest - his spot in the rotation was skipped after he gave up four runs in four innings against Baltimore on April 30 - but the rookie had another tough outing, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings.
"It took a while to settle in there, so I was rushing quite a bit at the beginning," Mauer said.
Donaldson opened the scoring in the second, hitting his fifth homer into the visitors' bullpen in left field. The Mariners barely escaped falling behind further after Maurer walked Derek Norris and Eric Sogard - the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters - on eight straight pitches. Second baseman Dustin Ackley ranged to his left and made a diving stop of John Jaso's grounder in the hole to end the inning.
Barton added his first homer of the year in the fourth inning to make the score 2-0, and the Athletics added another run in the fifth as Seth Smith doubled and scored on Lowrie's RBI single.
"When you score early, it's always huge," Barton said. "Especially right now with the funk we were in."
The Mariners' offense couldn't muster more than a few walks until their half of the fifth, when Shoppach hit his second homer of the season to right field with two outs and a man on.
Moss hit his solo homer in the sixth to push Oakland's lead to 4-2.
The Mariners mounted several comeback efforts in the late innings. Justin Smoak and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back one-out singles off Parker in the seventh, who was relieved by Sean Doolittle. Ackley then followed with another single to score Smoak before Doolittle got out of the jam.
The 6 1-3 innings tied Parker's longest outing this season.
"We want to get him on a roll," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "One good start's one thing, but we'd like to see him get on a roll. And certainly, with losing a few games in a row, it was a performance we needed out of him."
Reliever Ryan Cook came on in the eighth and gave up two singles and a walk, loading the bases with two outs. Endy Chavez, who had come on as a pinch runner for Ibanez in the seventh, struck out to end the rally - Cook's third strikeout of the inning.
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances. The Mariners did have men on second and first with two outs, but Balfour got Kyle Seager to ground out for the final out.
"It's a good feeling to win," Balfour said. "I just thought it was an all-around great game tonight."
NOTES: Oakland OF Chris Young(strained left quadriceps) will start a rehab assignment Monday at extended spring training in Arizona, and manager Bob Melvin said he hopes Young will be activated from the DL on Wednesday. ... Ibanez started in LF for Seattle for the second straight game. Manager Eric Wedge said he's trying to help the veteran get comfortable at the plate, although Jason Bay will likely start Sunday. Ibanez was 1 for 3. ... The Mariners are now 1-12 when their starting pitcher doesn't complete the sixth inning and 0-17 when trailing after seven innings.