Sonny Gray shook off some early defensive misadventures by the Oakland Athletics and Brandon Moss crushed a game-tying three-run homer in the third inning as the A’s earned a split in their rain-shortened series with the Seattle Mariners with a 6-3 win Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
The Mariners picked up two unearned runs in the top of the second after Daric Barton couldn’t come up with the ball cleanly while trying to get a force play at second base. Instead of a possible double play, the Mariners (4-2) had two on and one out. Abraham Almonte and Brad Miller stroked back-to-back two-out singles to put the M’s up 2-0.
The A’s (3-3) struck back against Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-1) in the third. Eric Sogard led off the inning with a single, but was forced at second on a grounder by Josh Donaldson. With two outs Jed Lowrie lined a single up the middle and Moss tied the game with a blast to right-center field for his first homer of the season.
Oakland forged ahead in the fifth. Once again, Sogard started the inning with a single and then stole second base. Coco Crisp worked a walk and Ramirez uncorked a wild pitch to put runners at second and third. Donaldson reached on an infield single to Cano that scored Sogard to make it 4-3 Oakland, ending the day for Ramirez.
Jed Lowrie hit a fly ball to center off reliever Chris Young that was deep enough to score Crisp, but Donaldson was thrown out trying to move up to second base.
The A’s added a run in the eighth on Yoenis Cespedes’ first homer of the season.
Gray (1-0) allowed three runs, one earned, on six hits and two walks in six innings, striking out three.
Gray also benefitted from some good fortune, as evidenced by this ball the Kyle Seager smoked down the first-base line. Instead of extra bases into the corner, the ball hit the bag and ricocheted right to Gray, who outraced Seager to the bag for an unassisted putout.
Luke Gregerson allowed a hit and fanned one in the seventh, Sean Doolittle worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Jim Johnson recorded his first save for the A’s despite allowing a hit and a walk in the ninth. He struck out two, getting Mike Zunino and Almonte on called third strikes to end it.
Sogard was 3-for-3 on the day, raising his average to .300. He had a double in the seventh.
The A’s now hit the road for the first time this season, heading to Minneapolis to play the Twins Monday at 1:10 p.m. Pacific. Scott Kazmir (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for the A’s, with Kevin Correia (0-0, 3.00 ERA) slated to pitch for the Twins in their home opener.