A’s deep six Mariners for first 2013 win

OAKLAND COLISEUM — The Oakland Athletics’ offense finally exploded for eleven hits and six runs – and finally got into the win column with a 6-2 win over the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night.

The game looked like it might be over before it even began for the A’s. Starting pitcher Tommy Milone gave up a solo home run to lead off batter Franklin Gutierrez on the fourth pitch of the game.

After getting two outs, Milone gave up another solo shot, this time a blast to left-center by Michael Morse. Morse already has three home runs and five RBI on the season.

Just like that, the A’s were down 2-0 before even getting a chance to bat. For a team that had only scored one run total in the first two games of the season, it seemed like a tall order to overcome a two-run deficit.

However, tonight’s Oakland lineup was up to the challenge.

Josh Donaldson led off the second inning with a double, and Derek Norris followed it up with a walk. After Josh Reddick hit into a 6-4-3 double play, rookie Nate Freiman got his first Major League hit, an RBI single driving in Donaldson. Scott Sizemore then hit a double, but the A’s failed to tie the game when Freiman was tagged out at the plate.

Oakland would wait just one inning to tie it up. For the second inning a row, the A’s led off with a double, this time coming off the bat of Coco Crisp. Jed Lowrie and Chris Young walked, loading the bases for Yoenis Cespedes, who would collect his second RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to center.

After struggling to get hits in the first two games of the series, right fielder Josh Reddick felt that the A’s offense was finally clicking.

“As a whole, I think everybody had a lot better at-bats tonight. It showed for us…the last two games we got ourselves out. Have better at-bats, it works out for you.”

Milone would settle in, giving up only two hits and no runs over the next six innings. After allowing the first two Mariners to reach base in the second inning, he would keep them from scoring with a double play ball and a strikeout. He would then give up just one hit while walking none the rest of the night.

A’s pitcher Tommy Milone

“Double plays are huge. To go from no outs to two outs in one pitch. It’s something that can change the course of a game. After that first inning I felt that I had to do my job as a starter and keep the game close. That’s what I tried to do and luckily I was successful.”

Manager Bob Melvin was pleased with Milone’s effort.

“If there’s anybody that can recover from a little bit of a difficult start, it’s Tommy. He didn’t let too much get to him. He just really concentrates on that particular pitch and doesn’t get too far ahead of himself.”

The A’s offense chased Mariners’ starter Joe Saunders from the game after just four innings. With the game tied up a 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Reddick led off the inning with a walk. Freiman singled, and Lowrie gave the A’s their first lead of the night with a two-run double to the gap in right-center field. That hit would prove to be enough to give the A’s their first win of the season, but the Athletics weren’t done just yet.

Lowrie would add his first home run of the year, and his third RBI of the night, to lead off the seventh inning. Chris Young would add his first homer of the year just two pitches later, giving the A’s their 6-2 lead. Three new Oakland players – Lowrie, Young, and Freiman – would combine for five of the six RBIs for the A’s.

Knowing that a two-run lead often isn’t enough, Melvin was happy that his team was able to give themselves a little bit of a cushion late in the game.

“The game is 4-2, and you know these guys…have some power, so you know you’re one base-runner away from potentially putting yourself in a situation where they could tie it up. So that really took a little of the pressure off, to get a four-run lead against them. Jed’s been swing the bat well, it’s nice to get Chris going too and get him on board, because he’s a heck of a player.”

Oakland’s bullpen would shut out Seattle in the last two innings. Sean Doolittle would allow just one hit with one strikeout in the eighth. Chris Resop would pitch a perfect 1-2-3 ninth, helped out by a great catch by Cespedes on a sinking liner to left.

The A’s look to split the four-game series versus Seattle in the final game of the homestand, Thursday afternoon at 12:35 PM.

Notes

The Oakland Athletics, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants, and Golden State Warriors each won Wednesday. According to Elias, the last time the four Bay Area teams all won a game on the same day was April 18, 2007 (Sharks game was a playoff game). The only other time all four won regular season games on the same day was April 2, 2002.