SEATTLE – After seeing most of the last two seasons wiped out by Tommy John surgery, Taijuan Walker was more than ready to experience the feeling of a victory again.
He did so after one of the more impressive outings in his entire career.
“It was just fun going out there, going deep into the game. It’s been a long while,” Walker said. “But I felt good. Honestly, I didn’t feel tired. I didn’t feel like I was breathing hard. Honestly, I feel like I could have gone more.”
Walker threw one-hit ball over seven innings, Kyle Lewis had his sixth straight multihit game, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Friday night.
Walker (1-1) was dominant making his first start in Seattle since the end of the 2016 season before being traded to Arizona. Walker struck out eight and walked two. The lone hit was Ramon Laureano’s double leading off the fourth inning, but he was stranded at third after Walker made a good defensive play to snag Mark Canha’s comebacker for the final out of the inning.
Walker’s best inning came when he struck out the side in the fifth after he was given a 2-0 lead. It was Walker’s first win since Sept. 6, 2017, against the Dodgers while pitching for Arizona, before elbow trouble and surgery limited him to four combined starts over the past two seasons.
It was the third time in Walker’s career he pitched at least six innings and allowed one hit. The previous two came during the 2015 season.
“We were probably not swinging at our best at this point, but he pitched a pretty good game and mixed his pitches pretty well,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Reliever Bryan Shaw stumbled in the eighth giving up a two-run triple to Marcus Semien and Laureano’s sacrifice fly. That was all Oakland would get as Taylor Williams pitched the ninth for his second save.
While Walker was overpowering on the mound, Lewis continued to rack up hits at the plate. Lewis singled and scored from first base on Kyle Seager’s two-run double in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Lewis lined an RBI single to center to score J.P. Crawford.
Lewis has 15 hits in the first eight games.
“Consistency is an understatement on what Kyle Lewis has been able to do. … With (Seager) it’s a great combination in the middle of our lineup,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.