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A’s Offense Arrives in Seattle

April 24, 2011

Like some luggage misplaced by the airline, the A’s offense finally showed up two days after the club’s arrival in Seattle. After being shutout for the first two contests of this four game set, the A’s posted nine runs to beat the M’s at Safeco 9-1. Baseball is a funny game, two nights you can’t score at all then you erupt for nine runs, funny because had they spread out those nine runs, they could have won on Thursday 2-1, Friday 5-4 and yesterday 2-1. But instead we have 1-0 and 4-0 losses and a 9-1 win. That’s just the way it goes.

After scoring their first run in twenty-scoreless innings, the A’s appeared to be destined to fail to generate runs yet again when a baserunning miscue kept a run off the board in the third inning. Conor Jackson had singled home Coco Crisp or so it seemed because Crisp put the brakes on when watching Mike Gallego‘s signal to stop. Problem was that Gallego’s signal was intended for Daric Barton on second not Crisp already well around third. The run would not come into score being stranded at third, though ultimately two unlikely candidates would bail him out.

First in the fourth inning, Cliff Pennington blasted his first home run of the year off of Mariners starter Jason Vargas. The two-run shot capped a three-run inning. It was his first home run of the year. Then in the top of the sixth, Hideki Matsui walked, followed by a Kurt Suzuki single chased Vargas out of the game. In came Josh Lueke who would later surrender a three-run blast to the struggling Kevin Kouzmanoff to secure the victory and give Oakland a 7-1 lead. Two more runs would score in the inning and by the time Lueke left his ERA would be a tidy 17.05.

Pitching wise the M’s again got A’s starter Trevor Cahill to throw more pitches than he should have, this time 100 in six innings of one-run work. His strikeout rate was a bit more of what we’ve long been used to from Cahill as he struck out only two. Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow and Grant Balfour all came in for an inning of scoreless work each to seal the victory. Interestingly, the good nights for Kouzmanoff (2-for-4, HR) and Pennington (2-for-3, BB, HR) lifted both their batting averages above that of the scuttling Daric Barton (.220, .246 and .217 respectively). One thing to note however is that still in 63 plate appearances this year, Kouzmanoff has failed to walk.

All in all a good night, but not enough to yet determine if the A’s bats have finally heated up. Good pitching was still consistent which is great and another good outing should come from Brett Anderson today, but it’ll be good to see the bats pick up where they left off last night.

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