A’s beat the Mariners 6-3
After spotting Seattle a 3-0 lead in the third inning and looking out of sorts in doing so, the A’s responded by knocking off the Mariners 6-3 in front of a Little League Day crowd of 32,852 at the Coliseum on Sunday.
Oakland finished its homestand with a 3-3 mark.
Sonny Gray (1-0) struggled through the first three innings, but he managed to get through six. The right-hander gave up three runs (one earned) on six hits. He retired his final seven hitters.
Jim Johnson allowed a walk and a hit in the ninth, but he picked up his first save with the A’s by getting called third strikes on Mike Zunino and Abraham Almonte for the game’s last two outs.
As he did against Cleveland on Opening Night, Gray walked two men in the first inning but escaped unscathed. He rung up Logan Morrison looking with runners at the corners to end the first Sunday.
Gray carried a 14-inning scoreless streak (seven this season, seven last) into the second. The streak did not reach 15.
With one out and Dustin Ackley at first, A’s first baseman Daric Barton couldn’t make a play on Michael Saunders chopper between first and second. Barton’s error cost the A’s two unearned runs.
Almonte’s two-out single brought home Ackley with the game’s first run. Brad Miller followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 – but it could have been worse for Oakland. Almonte foolishly tried to go to third on Miller’s base hit to right. Sam Fuld’s throw cut down Almonte by plenty.
Almonte committed one of the cardinal sins of baseball, making the third out at third base – and it was even more glaring because Robinson Cano was on deck.
The A’s returned the baserunning blunder in the bottom of the inning. With no outs, runners at first and second and Fuld at the plate, Yoenis Céspedes broke for third before Erasmo Ramirez (1-1) went into his delivery. Ramirez stepped off the rubber and threw to third. Céspedes ultimately was put out 1-5-6 in a caught stealing.
Oakland squandered that opportunity, and then Seattle quickly added a run in the third. Cano led off the inning with a base hit to center, and when Coco Crisp nonchalantly fielded the ball, Cano hustled into second with a double. After a wild pitch, Justin Smoak’s single to center brought home Cano for a 3-0 game.
It quickly became a 3-3 game. With two outs and two on in the bottom of the third, Brandon Moss took Ramirez deep to right-center. Moss’ first homer of the year was the A’s fourth of the season.
Fuld again became part of the story in the fourth. His one-out blooper to center fell for a base hit and he made a big turn around first. Miller, the shortstop, threw to first to nail Fuld trying to scramble back to the bag. A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call.
An initial replay seemed to indicate Fuld was safe, but when the replay was slowed, it confirmed the out call.
The A’s took the lead for good in the fifth. An Eric Sogard single, a walk to Crisp and a wild pitch preceded Josh Donaldson’s RBI single to make it 4-3, Oakland. Donaldson had been hitless in his previous 20 at-bats.
Chris Young then replaced Ramirez. Lowrie greeted Young with a deep drive to left-center. Almonte got to the ball, gloved it, but lost it trying to make the exchange to his bare hand. Crisp obviously scored, but Donaldson, thinking Almonte had made the grab, retreated to first and was an easy forceout at second.
The play initially was ruled a fielder’s choice, then changed to a sacrifice fly for Lowrie. The only difference is it saved Lowrie an at-bat.
Céspedes’ first homer of the season, an opposite-field blast off Yoervis Medina leading off the eighth, ended the day’s scoring.