It was only a 5 game losing streak, but it felt like a lot more. But tonight, not Angel Hernandez, not Joe Torre, not Chris Perez, not Kyle Seager, and not the A’s themselves would be able to prevent the A’s from coming away with a victory in Seattle tonight. Jarrod Parker finally showed some signs of the pitcher we all saw last season, in one of his best performances of 2013 to best the Mariners and Brandon Maurer.
May 11, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Balfour (50) is greeted by catcher Derek Norris (36) after the final out against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Oakland defeated Seattle, 4-3, as Balfour earned his sixth save. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The game began uneventfully, neither team did anything in the first inning. Josh Donaldson went deep for his 5th home run of the season in the top of the 2nd inning, the Mariners did nothing when a walk was erased with an inning ending double play in their half. Yoenis Cespedes returned the favor with his own inning ending double play in the top of the 3rd, and the Mariners once again did nothing with their half (Sensing a theme?). The A’s got on the board again in the top of the 4th when Daric Barton launched his first home run of the season, the Mariners again did nothing (2 walks, one of which was picked off by a snap throw from Derek Norris). Jed Lowrie drove in the A’s third run of the game on a long RBI single in the top of the 5th, the Mariners finally did something in the bottom half when Kelly Shoppach went to the opposite field for a 2-run home run following a Justin Smoak walk with pop up and a force out sandwiched in between. That was the first base hit allowed by Jarrod Parker in the game, it may have only been 4.2 innings of no hit ball, but all things considered it’s extremely impressive for him. Brandon Moss would respond with his 5th home run of the season in the 6th.
Parker would work into the 7th inning, going 6.1 innings while allowing 3 hits, 3 ER, 4 walks, and 8 strikeouts in getting his second win of the season. Sean Doolittle allowed his first inherited runner to score in taking over for Parker, accounting for the 3rd ER charged to him. Doolittle would escape the inning with any further damage done. Ryan Cook would bring us a cardiac inning in the 8th, loading up the bases on two singles and a walk, but he would strike out the side in the process to walk across the tight rope and escape disaster. Grant Balfour would convert the save in the 9th, his 24th straight, but it wouldn’t come easy as the M’s would get the tying and potential winning runs aboard. The A’s bullpen managed to hold the Mariners down, but they sure didn’t act like they wanted to.
On the offensive side, Jed Lowrie would shine brightest with a 3 for 4 night and an RBI single. Josh Donaldson (2-4), Daric Barton (1-4), and Brandon Moss (1-4) accounted for each of the other three single runs that gave the A’s just barely enough to pull out this win.
May 11, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits the wall after robbing a home run against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Oakland defeated Seattle, 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The highlight of the night had to be the sensational play by Yoenis Cespedes in center field to rob Kyle Seager of at least extra bases and perhaps more. Yoenis caught the ball with a leap and a crash into the wall after a dead run just to the left of straight away center field. He appeared to maybe have gotten his bell run a little bit, but apparently no harm was done.
With the win the A’s are back at .500 at 19-19.
It seems hard to believe, but the A’s will have a chance to win the series tomorrow afternoon as Tommy Milone (3-4, 3.14 ERA) takes on old friend Joe Saunders (2-4, 6.15 ERA). Saunders at times has been able to shut down the Athletics, but that was primarily during his days with the Los Angeles Angels. The A’s roughed him up a little, scoring 4 runs in 4 innings against Saunders for the team’s first win of 2013 back on April 3rd.