The Oakland Athletics took on the Seattle Mariners today in their 19th game of Cactus League play and fell to their neighbors to the north by a final score of 6-5. A.J. Griffin took the loss for the A’s, allowing five runs in 5.1 innings of work – all of them coming in the fifth and sixth innings. Griffin also struck out three and walked two, and the damage could have been worse if it weren’t for a great catch by Coco Crisp to rob what would’ve been a two-run home run from Seattle’s Jesus Montero in the second inning.
Derek Norris gave the A’s a 2-0 lead in the fourth when he hit a two-run homer off of Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma. Norris is hitting .304 with two home runs thus far in spring training.
Ryan Cook would come in to pitch the rest of the sixth and allowed one run after Griffin gave up a solo home run to Michael Morse and a double to Justin Smoak. Oakland kept things close all the way through, scoring runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings, but the Mariners matched them every step of the way to hand Griffin his first loss of the spring.
For all of the disappointment in Seattle the last few seasons, the Mariners are 15-7 in the Cactus League and have hit 44 home runs, most in the league. That’s likely to change when they exchange the dry desert of Arizona for the thick, cold air of Seattle, but if they keep it up they’ll could be a young surprising team like the A’s were last year.
In minor league play, Grant Balfour pitched one inning to see some game action before he joins the team in Phoenix to work his way back to form in the final five spring training games.
The A’s take on the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow at 1:05 PDT, and Dan Straily will get the start. Until then, enjoy the World Baseball Classic.