Monday, April 13, 2015

Cruz's homer rescues Mariners in 10th

 Nelson Cruz homered for the second straight day Sunday and this one lifted the Mariners to an 8-7 victory over the A's in the 10th inning at the Coliseum.
Cruz's home run just over the left-field fence gave Seattle the series win after the A's had rallied for four runs off closer Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the ninth. Cruz's 199th career home run came on a 2-0 changeup from new A's closer Tyler Clippard.
"It shows no matter the situation of the game, we can come back and get the job done," Cruz said after Seattle won in extra innings for a second straight day to even its record at 3-3. "It shows a lot of heart from everybody. It's nice. If we're trying to go a long way, we should have that."
Felix Hernandez lasted only five innings due to tightness in his right quadricep, but the Mariners ace was in position to earn the win until Oakland rallied against Rodney. Hernandez surrendered three runs and eight hits over 81 pitches and was trailing 3-0 when he was taken out, but the Mariners rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth and then tacked on to that lead with a three-run pinch-hit homer by Rickie Weeks in the seventh.
Right-hander Jesse Hahn had a no-hitter through five innings in his second start for the A's before seeing his own lead slip away with four runs -- three unearned following an error on Josh Reddick -- in the sixth. More >
In defense of the King: On a day Hernandez wasn't sharp, he needed some help from his friends to keep Oakland at bay. In the second inning, first baseman Logan Morrison fielded a grounder and fired home to force out Butler on a bases-loaded, one-out play. And in the third, catcher Mike Zuninohauled in a foul pop in front of the Mariners dugout and threw to Hernandez covering first for a rare 2-1 double play after Fuld couldn't get back in time after taking off on a hit-and-run. Hernandez strained his quadricep stretching for the throw on the double play and had to come out after the fifth inning.
"I just feel a little tight in my leg," Hernandez said. "I'll be fine." More >
Ninth-inning rally: The A's entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 7-3 as the Mariners went to Rodney to try to finish it off. Oakland's first five batters reached base, including Fuld, who hit a ringing double down the right-field line to score Reddick and Marcus Semien to cut the deficit to 7-5. Butler drove home a run when he hit into a double play, before Sogard hit the game-tying RBI single that scored Mark Canha and sent the game to extra innings. More >
Nothing weak about that one: Weeks launched his first home run for the Mariners with his three-run shot in the seventh while pinch-hitting for Seth Smith. The former Brewer drove a 1-0 fastball from Eric O'Flaherty over the center-field fence to give Seattle a 7-3 lead. It was the third pinch-hit homer in Weeks' 12-year career and first by a Mariner since Stefen Romero on June 3 last year in Atlanta.
"I think I've been pressing a little, knowing I want to try to get some things going," Weeks said. "You're on a brand-new team, it's just one of those things. It's part of it. But I came through right there." More >
Reddick's returns: A's right fielder Reddick had an eventful afternoon in his 2015 debut. Hahn tossed five no-hit innings to start the game but ran into trouble in the sixth. He nearly got out of a jam with a 3-1 lead, but Reddick couldn't handle a hard line drive hit by Robinson Cano and two runs scored on what could have been the final out of the inning. Cano scored later in the frame to make it 4-3 and chase Hahn. Reddick also hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded and one out against Hernandez in the second inning. To his credit, Reddick started off the ninth-inning rally with a leadoff double.
Despite Reddick's big defensive miscue, A's manager Bob Melvin doesn't sound too concerned about the 2012 Gold Glover.
"I think he could go out there in December and still play defense," Melvin said.
"I believe in these guys. This offense is pretty good. I know it's going to tick and we're going to win a lot of games. It's a different look. We're a different team. We can score different ways. We score with homers, we can score with speed. We look pretty good." -- Hernandez.
With his second-inning single off of Hernandez, A's designated hitter Butler extended his hit streak to an American League-best seven games to start off the year.
Mariners: Left-hander James Paxton makes his second start of the season on Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT as Seattle opens a three-game Interleague series against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Paxton pitched well in his season debut, but took a 2-0 loss to the Angels. The 26-year-old has a 0.90 ERA (one earned run in 10 innings) in two Interleague starts in his young career against the Cardinals and Phillies.
Athletics: Oakland will head to the Lone Star state to begin its first road trip of the year with a three-game series at Houston. Southpaw Scott Kazmir will look to build off his strong season debut, as he struck out 10 across seven shutout innings in Wednesday's winning effort against Texas. The Astros will send RHP Scott Feldman to the mound for the 5:10 p.m. PT matchup.

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