After two rough games to start the season, the Oakland Athletics appeared to get back on track against the Seattle Mariners Thursday with strong starting pitching and power offense from their cleanup hitters.
Josh Reddick emerged from an 0-for-10 slump in a big way, going 2-for-3 with a double and a two-run home run that gave the A’s 2-0 lead in the second, and it was smooth sailing from there as Oaklant beat Seattle 8-2 to bring their record to 2-2 on the year.
A.J. Griffin opened his 2013 season with a solid effort, pitching six strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. One of those runs was scored on a solo home run from Michael Morse in the sixth, who has been red hot for Seattle, torching the A’s for four home runs in the opening series. Michael Saunders accounted for the other run on a sacrifice fly to score Dustin Ackley in the fifth.
The A’s had an answer for everything on offense, and they welcomed Seattle rookie pitcher Brandon Maurer to the big leagues by lighting him up for six runs on eight hits, with his final inning bringing the most damage. Jed Lowrie hit his second double of the day with one out, and Reddick brought him home with a double of his own in the next at-bat. A home run from Yoenis Cespedes would serve as an exclamation point on the day for the Athletics, as they finished the day with 10 hits and eight RBI with only two strikeouts.
Oakland scored two more runs in the eighth on sacrifice flies from Reddick and first baseman Nate Freiman, but the insurance runs weren’t really necessary since at that point the game was all but over as Oakland’s bullpen was on point. Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins mad quick work of the Mariners in the seventh and eighth, and Ryan Cook struck out the side to end the game.
The A’s will travel to Texas to take on the Houston Astros in a three-game series over the weekend, and Dan Straily will get the start in Game 1, followed by Bartolo Colon in Game 2 and Brett Anderson in Game 3. Jed Lowrie will be making his return to Houston after the A’s traded for him and sent over first basemen Chris Carter, and Oakland will look to keep the offense coming in the hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.