OAKLAND -- He may be one of the older players in the MLB, but he's new to the Mariners.
Henry Blanco, who turns 42 on Aug. 29, was just signed by Seattle on Friday after being released by Toronto and hit his first grand slam in 13 years Saturday, helping the Mariners to a 4-0 victory over the suddenly listless A's.
Oakland, coming off a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees, are suddenly in danger of being swept by the Mariners led by starter Felix Hernandez, who improved to 8-4 after throwing seven shutout innings at the A's and allowing just five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
The A's regained the services of Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson but the trio went a combined 3-for-12 with five strikeouts.
Despite the defeat--Oakland's first series loss since May 13-15 against Texas--the A's (41-29) remain two games ahead of the Rangers in the American League West.
Starting pitching report
A.J. Griffin has had issues in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings this season as 30 of the 39 earned runs he's given up have come in these frames. And it was in the sixth when he gave up a first-pitch grand slam to Blanco after a single to Kendrys Morales, a double to Michael Morse and an intentional walk to Michael Saunders. Griffin has a losing record for the first time this season (5-6) after giving up four runs on eight hits with two walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts in six innings. He threw 107 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Jerry Blevins authored a scoreless seventh inning, Dan Otero did the same in the eighth and ditto for Pat Neshek in the ninth.
At the plate
Brandon Moss, who entered the game just 2-for-12 lifetime against King Felix, banged out a pair of singles, as did Crisp. The only threat the A's had against Hernandez came in the fifth, when Jed Lowrie led off with a double, moved to third on a fly out to center but was then cut down at home plate by Seattle right fielder Endy Chavez tagging up on Chris Young's fly out. It was the second time in as many games the A's had a runner thrown out at home.
In the field
Crisp had a beat on the ball, a sinking liner in the gap between center and right, and he timed his jump perfectly. But Michael Morse's sixth-inning drive just eluded the outstretched glove of the horizontal Crisp and the ball trickled away from him for a one-out double to put runners at second and third. An intentional walk later and the bases were loaded, setting the stage for Blanco's grand slam. Moss also had a sweet over-the-shoulder catch, ala Cris Collinsworth, in left field to end the ninth inning.
The A's announced a crowd of 24,378 for the late afternoon start, in which the temperature at first pitch was announced as being 56 degrees. Oh yeah, and it was A's Beerfest.
Bartolo Colon (8-2, 2.92 ERA) continues his bid to be a 40-year-old All-Star as he is 5-0 with a 0.75 ERA over his last five starts. In that stretch, the right-hander has not allowed a home run and opponents are batting just .242 against him. Colon has faced the Mariners 33 times in his career, going 16-12 with a 3.97 ERA. The 16 victories are the most against Seattle among active pitchers and his 12 losses and 33 starts are Colon's most against any team, though he has yet to face the Mariners this season. The Mariners will start right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (7-1, 1.79), who has already beaten the A's twice this season and is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA in four career appearances two starts, against Oakland.