When the Mariners and Athletics face off on Tuesday at O.co Coliseum, the focus will again turn to the mound. The clubs feature young, talented pitching staffs that rank 1-2 in the American League, in terms of ERA.
Mariners left-hander James Paxton will be recalled to make his first start since getting sent down following his last outing on Aug. 26. He's 7-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 11 career starts. Only two other Major League pitchers have had seven wins and an ERA as low as 1.71 in the first 11 starts of their career -- Steve Rogers in 1973 (7-3, 1.28 ERA) and Phil Niekro (8-3, 1.20 ERA).
This will be Paxton's first start against Oakland.
Paxton threw a career-high 118 pitches in his last start, when he went 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed four hits against the Rangers. That was his fifth start after missing four months with a lat strain and shoulder issues.
"I feel like I'm getting closer with each start," Paxton said. "My stuff is starting to come around a little bit better each time. I just need to keep on pushing forward and get that feel earlier in the game so I can save some pitches."
The A's will counter with right-hander Sonny Gray (13-7, 3.03 ERA), who is coming off an August in which he went 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA in six starts. Facing the Angels his last outing, he overcame a three-run, 30-pitch second inning to go seven frames before Oakland succumbed to a 4-3 loss in 10 innings.
Mariners: September callups add depth
First baseman Justin Smoak and designated hitter/outfielder Corey Hart were among seven players added to Seattle's roster on Monday.
Smoak started Monday's game in place of Logan Morrison at first base, and manager Lloyd McClendon said the veteran Hart would get his chances to help in the coming days as well.
Also added were right-handed pitchers Taijuan Walker and Carson Smith, lefty reliever Lucas Luetge, outfielder Stefen Romero and catcher Humberto Quintero. Erasmo Ramirez will join the team on Tuesday.
"I think all of them bring something to the table," McClendon said. "And hopefully they'll get opportunities to help us win games."
A's: Dunn makes presence known
Adam Dunn wasted no time in producing a "Welcome to Oakland" moment.
Searching to supplement their offense, the Athletics on Sunday traded Minor League pitcher Nolan Sanburn to the White Sox in exchange for Dunn.
In his first at-bat with the A's, Dunn responded Monday by hitting a two-run homer that sparked a five-run first inning. His second time up, he lined a single down the left-field line.
Dunn, 34, waived his no-trade clause to join Oakland, where he has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in his career. He said he plans to retire after the season.
"To get that opportunity now, it's awesome. It's a little shot of adrenaline in the arm," he said before Monday's game. "First of all, I think it was easy because of how good the team was. Second of all, I know Jonny [Gomes] and those guys, they love to have fun. I'm big on fun."
• First baseman Jesus Montero was placed on the suspended list Monday for his altercation with a Mariners scout last week while on a rehab assignment with the Class A Everett AquaSox. The plan is for Montero to sit out the rest of the season.
• The A's on Monday recalled outfielder Billy Burns and right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez from Triple-A Sacramento and selected the contract of catcher Bryan Anderson.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.