- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Even by Rich Hill’s recent successful standards, his second inning was a notch above.

Hill escaped a no-out, bases loaded jam in the second and settled in for eight innings to win his fourth straight start and the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 5-0 on Monday night to end a four-game skid.

“He was outstanding,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Obviously, he’s a had a lot of great starts for us so far this year, tonight in that second inning was as sharp as I’ve ever seen him. To come out and retire those three guys, three good hitters, like he did, that was very, very impressive.”

Taijuan Walker (2-4) held Oakland to two hits through six innings, but then Vogt opened the seventh by driving a 3-1 pitch deep over the right field wall for his fourth homer.

“Taijuan was tough tonight,” Vogt said. “Fortunately, I was able to get one of the only mistakes he made all night and I didn’t miss it.”

Hill (7-3) allowed six hits over the first three innings, then retired 14 consecutive batters before Chris Taylor’s bloop single to shallow center with one out in the eighth. Hill allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked none, throwing 81 of 107 pitches for strikes.

In his last seven starts, Hill is 6-1 with a 1.61 ERA. He is 6-0 with 1.40 ERA on the road this season.

“It’s tough to even put into words,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Every game right now that he goes out there, we have a great feeling we’re going to win no matter what we’re going through.”

The A’s broke it open with four unearned runs in the eighth, aided by two throwing errors from shortstop Taylor, called up Sunday to replace injured Ketel Marte.

Walker, who has not won in five starts since his last victory on April 25, allowed a leadoff single in the first to Crisp, but then retired 16 straight before Smolinski’s one-out bloop single in the sixth. Walker allowed five runs - one earned - on four hits in 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season.

MARTIN CONTINUES STREAK

Seattle’s Leonys Martin extended his hitting streak to seven games with his first-inning single. He is batting .542 (13 for 24) over that span with three home runs, four RBIs, five walks and five runs.

NEAL TO START

Right-hander Zach Neal, 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Nashville, will be called up to start Wednesday for the A’s in the finale of the three-game series against Seattle. Neal takes the place of RHP Sonny Gray, who went on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a strained right trapezius.

TRAINING ROOM

A’s: OF Josh Reddick will not need surgery on his fractured left thumb. Melvin said the injury is on the tip of the thumb, rather than at a joint, and there’s no displacement. … RHP Henderson Alvarez, who experienced discomfort last week in his surgically repaired shoulder, was cleared to begin playing catch on Tuesday. “My feeling is he wouldn’t be playing catch tomorrow if there was something structurally in there that they had a problem with,” Melvin said.

Mariners: Marte, placed on the 15-day DL after spraining his left thumb on Saturday, said his thumb is improving, but he’s still unable to grip a bat. “It feels a lot better,” Marte said. “It’s serious, because if you can’t do anything with your hand, you can’t play baseball.” Manager Scott Servais said he did not anticipate Marte doing any type of baseball activity on this homestand.

UP NEXT:

A’s: Right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-6, 5.48 ERA) is 0-5 with a 7.92 ERA in his last five starts. Opponents are batting .361 against him over that span. He is 1-11 in his last 16 starts dating back to July 10 of last season. He has allowed nine home runs in 19 1/3 innings on the road this season.

Mariners: Right-hander Nathan Karns (4-1, 3.33 ERA) has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his first eight starts, lasting at least five innings each time out. He has not lost since his first start on April 9.

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