The Oakland Athletics (8-4) finished off their solid 5-1 week with a win over the Seattle Mariners (6-5) on Sunday afternoon. Taking to the road earlier this week for the first time this season and sweeping the Minnesota Twins in a three game set, the Swinging A’s found themselves in Seattle for a weekend series.
After being dominated by familiar foe Felix Hernandez on Friday night by way of 11 strikeouts in a 6-4 loss, Oakland was quick to turn their fortune around on Saturday. Sonny Gray gave the A’s just the type of pitching gem that they needed to get back to their winning ways, tossing seven innings, striking out nine, and allowing just one earned run in a 3-1 victory. Saturday was also a big day for third basemen Josh Donaldson, who connected on the first of his two homeruns over the weekend.
Saturday’s pitching gem led to another on Sunday, this time by first year Athletic Scott Kazmir. Kazmir two hit the Mariners through six while striking out nine. Showing signs of brilliance, he has been exactly what GM Billy Beane had in mind when signing him this past off-season. However, Kazmir left the ball game after the sixth due to left triceps tightness. With a laundry list of past health issues, any injury news is bad news for the Oakland left-hander.
On the positive side of injury news, Coco Crisp was able to return to the lineup this weekend after missing the three game set in Minnesota with hamstring tightness. Crisp collected three hits and scored two runs on the weekend.
Outfielder Craig Gentry (lower back) was activated off of the disabled list while Sam Fuld was designated for assignment. Gentry, a lifetime .279 hitter, will be a pinch hitter and the Athletics fourth outfielder moving forward, but manager Bob Melvin has stated that he will be in the starting lineup two of their next three games in Anaheim as they take on the Angels.
First basemen/designated hitter Brandon Moss has lead the Oakland offense so far with a .311 batting average and 11 early season RBI’s. Moss had three hits and two RBI’s over the weekend.
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in two runs on Sunday. Oakland needs both Cespedes and right fielder Josh Reddick, who is hitting just .111, to get their bats going.
After a somewhat slow start, the Athletics appear to be hitting their stride, especially pitching wise. Their staff ranks second in the entire majors with a 2.36 ERA and fourth in batting average against with a .218 average. With just 27 earned runs, that is the second lowest given up in the league. Great pitching paired with timely hitting has been the recipe for success for the past two years now. This season appears to be no different.
The AL West leading Athletics head to Anaheim Monday for a three game set with the Angels and then return back to the Coliseum for three game set with the Houston Astros. With an 8-4 record, Oakland has the best record in the American League and the third best in all of baseball.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the Oakland Athletics