SEATTLE -- Gio Gonzalez called his father during spring training to talk about his goals for the upcoming season.
The left-hander was coming off a lackluster 2009 season in which he posted a 6-7 record in 17 starts with a 5.75 ERA. But Gonzalez had a lofty goal in mind.Fifteen wins."We set up a goal at the beginning of the season," Gonzalez said. "I would call my dad every day and I would tell him, 'This is my goal. This is what I want to do.'"Gonzalez battled through early control problems to throw seven scoreless innings and pick up his 15th victory of the season as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Seattle Mariners 8-1 on Thursday night."I'm just grateful that I accomplished what I was doing from spring training on," Gonzalez said."They stuck with me since spring training, and I didn't want to let them down all season. ... I just appreciate every opportunity Oakland has given me."Gonzalez (15-9) had to battle to earn that victory. He couldn't find the strike zone in the fourth inning, walking Justin Smoak and Adam Moore on nine pitches.Pitching coach Curt Young and catcher Kurt Suzuki went out to the mound to settle Gonzalez down."Definitely trying to slow it down and wanted to change the rhythm of the game," Gonzalez said. "Slowed it down and just wanted to throw strikes."Matt Mangini sacrificed the runners over, and Michael Saunders drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but Josh Wilson flied out to center field to end the threat."He's done that so many times that something doesn't click, and it takes him a few pitches to mentally and physically get back locked in," manager Bob Geren said."He rebounded. He got himself in trouble a couple times and then he got himself out of it with a strikeout. Good last game for him."Oakland started to piece together a few singles off Mariners starter Doug Fister, who allowed six runs on 13 hits in 5 1/3 innings.Jeremy Hermida singled to lead off the fifth, and Rajai Davis and Daric Barton both singled with two outs to load the bases before Fister (6-14) balked in a run. Mark Ellis singled to score Davis from third. Fister had Ellis picked off at first base, but Barton induced a throw home that allowed Ellis to reach second safely. Jack Cust then singled to score Barton and Ellis to give the A's a 4-0 lead."Top of the fifth they load the bases, a bleeder that scores two. We don't execute when we picked the guy off first, and another soft single and it's 4-0," Mariners interim manager Daren Brown said."I don't think there were a whole lot of balls that were hit hard. They were just finding holes."Kevin Kouzmanoff singled to lead off the sixth inning, and Chris Carter homered to left field to give Oakland a 6-0 lead and chase Fister.Cliff Pennington and Davis singled off reliever Brian Sweeney to put runners on the corners. Davis then stole second base and an errant throw from catcher Moore went into center field, allowing Pennington to score from third for a seven-run lead.Pennington added a home run off Anthony Varvaro in the eighth inning to extend the lead to 8-0.Seattle's run scored in the eighth inning. Smoak singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Vin Mazzaro. Mangini and Greg Halman each hit into a fielder's choice, allowing Smoak to score.
Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez will not make another start this season. ... Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki was honored before the game as the first player in major league history to record 200 hits for the 10th consecutive season. ... A's OF Davis had four hits for the fourth time this season. ... Smoak extended his hitting streak to seven games, matching a career high. He went 2-for-2 with two walks.