Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman lined an RBI double to score Tony Kemp in the top of the 10th inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied for a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.
Oakland snapped a three-game losing streak, escaping a major jam in the bottom of the ninth inning before Grossman came through in the 10th. Hitting for Ryan Murphy, Grossman lined Dan Altavilla’s pitch into the right-center field gap to easily score Kemp.
Liam Hendriks pitched the 10th for his second save of the season in the first extra inning game for both teams.
“It’s a just adjustment and basically we’re going to adjust to all these things and it doesn’t matter what kind of rules they put out there, the guys are going to adjust and we’re gonna make the best of it,” Grossman said.
Oakland’s Joakim Soria (1-0) escaped a jam in the ninth after Seattle loaded the bases with one out. Soria struck out Jose Marmolejos and Shed Long Jr. to send the game to extra innings, leaving pinch-runner Dee Gordon stranded at third base.
“We had our chances in the ninth. I will say that’s part of what we’re going through this year, giving those guys opportunities in the ninth inning when the game is on the line and learning from it,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Oakland trailed 2-0 until Chad Pinder’s two-out, two-run home run in the seventh inning off Seattle reliever Nick Margevicius. It was the only jolt of offense for Oakland after being shut down for six innings by Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi.
“We have not gotten big hit, and we were stagnant again up until that point and then all of a sudden we’re in a tie game,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “The difference for us today was we didn’t get a ton of hits but we got big hits when we needed to.”
Relying heavily on his fastball and cutter, Kikuchi allowed only one hit through five innings, on Stephen Piscotty’s infield single that was originally called out but overturned by replay. Kikuchi was also helped by a pair of double plays, including a fantastic turn by Long, J.P. Crawford and Evan White that followed Piscotty’s hit.
Kikuchi found trouble in the sixth after a pair of singles to open the inning. But he quickly recovered by striking out Ryan Murphy and Marcus Semien, the latter throwing a 96 mph fastball past the A’s leadoff hitter. Kikuchi escaped the jam getting a groundout from Matt Chapman to end the inning.
“Overall one of the best outings he’s ever had here. Really impressed by him tonight," Servais said. “Not just his stuff, and we’ve seen an uptick in his velocity and how he’s using his stuff differently, but the competitiveness tonight really stood out.”
Oakland starter Mike Fiers limited all of Seattle’s damage to one inning. A pair of two-out singles and a walk to Kyle Lewis loaded the bases, and Kyle Seager dropped a two-run single into center field. Seattle’s rally ended as Lewis was thrown out by Ramon Laureano while trying to go from first to third on the play.
ON THE BOARD
Khris Davis was back in the A’s lineup after a couple of days off and recorded his first hit of the season with a sharp single to center in the sixth inning. Davis had been 0-for-16 prior to the base hit. Only San Francisco’s Hunter Pence and Detroit’s Jeimer Candelario had longer streaks to start the season without a hit.
Mariners: RHP Brandon Brennan was transferred to the 45-day injured list due to a strained left oblique. Brennan appeared in one game this season against Houston and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He was placed on the 10-day injured list last Monday.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-0, 0.00) threw four scoreless innings in his first start of the season against the Angels. Dating back to August 2019, Bassitt is 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA over his past 10 appearances.
Mariners: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-1, 13.50) makes his second start in his return from Tommy John surgery. Graveman spent four seasons of his career with the A’s between 2015-18 and was 23-29 with a 4.38 ERA during his time in Oakland.
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