OAKLAND — Cesar Valdez pitched in the major leagues for the first time in nearly seven years and the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 9-6 on Thursday night.
He allowed three runs and five hits in four innings, struck out four and walked two. This marked just the third start of his career at age 32 and 10th appearance in all — and he is probably headed right back to the minors soon.
A right-hander from the Dominican Republic, he was called up from Triple-A Nashville to fill in for injured opening day starter Kendall Graveman. Valdez last pitched in the big leagues on June 10, 2010, with Arizona just more than a month after his previous start on May 8.
“What a great story. It’s been a while since he’s been in the big leagues,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You really feel good about guys that have persevered and hang around with the aspirations to get back to the big leagues. He performed well for us this spring, he’s done well early in the season in Triple-A, so we’re rewarding him with a start and it’s great to see because very competitive guys like that don’t take no for an answer and end up coming back to the big leagues again — you know they have some moxie.”
Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer in the seventh and Ryan Dull (1-1) pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings for the victory in Oakland’s third consecutive win.
Reliever Evan Scribner (0-2) took the loss against his former club.
Taylor Motter hit a two-run homer for Seattle in the sixth against Frankie Montas.
Adam Rosales had an RBI single and sacrifice fly and Ryon Healy added an RBI single among his three hits as Oakland erased an early 3-0 deficit, then held on. Rajai Davis’ RBI groundout in the sixth was the go-ahead run.
Seattle starter James Paxton’s scoreless innings streak to begin the year ended at 23 when Oakland got on the board in the third. He struck out eight over 4⅓ innings.
Paxton allowed more than two runs in a road start against the American League West for only the fourth time in 12 outings in his career.
Mariners: Shortstop Jean Segura is set to be designated hitter at Double-A Arkansas Friday as he rehabs a strained right hamstring that landed him on the 10-day disabled list April 11. He will play there through the weekend.
“He feels good, ready to get back in there,” manager Scott Servais said.
Athletics: Shortstop Marcus Semien returned to the ballpark after undergoing surgery Tuesday on his fractured right wrist that included inserting a pin. He will soon begin using a splint.
“Hopefully we can do another CT scan sooner than six weeks because it looked so good,” he said. “Obviously I can’t use my right hand right now. I’m getting dressed with one hand, I’m eating with my left hand. I can’t hold my son.”
Catcher Stephen Vogt sat for a second consecutive day against a lefty starter but will play again tonight. ... Oakland’s 2016 second-round pick, right-hander Daulton Jefferies, will undergo Tommy John surgery. ... The A’s optioned catcher Bruce Maxwell to Nashville to make room for Valdez.