by Charlie O. Mallonee
With one out in the top of the 10th inning and Tony Kemp at second base as the new extra-innings rules require, pinch hitter Robbie Grossman stepped into the batters’ box to face Seattle reliever, Dan Altavilla.
Grossman hit a 2-1 slider into right-center field that drove Kemp home to score the go-ahead run for the Athletics. Grossman motored all the way to third base when center fielder Kyle Lewis threw up his hands that the ball was stuck under the wall. After an umpire review of the ground rules, Grossman was sent back to second base and his hit was scored as an RBI-double.
The bottom of the 10th would be a test
The A’s sent Liam Hendricks to the mound to close out the game and get the win for Oakland. The Mariners Shed Long started the inning at second base. Hendricks set the side down in order to finish the game by striking out J.P. Crawford.
Hendricks picked up his second save of the season and has an ERA of 2.70.
Oakland pitching was strong
Mike Fiers (0-0, 5.40) made his second start of the season. Fiers worked 6.0 innings giving up two runs (both earned) off four hits. He struck out three and walked just one batter. Fiers threw 79 pitches (48 strikes). It was exactly the kind of starting effort the A’s needed.
The Oakland relievers were outstanding on Saturday night. Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit both worked a perfect inning of relief each.
Joakim Soria worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning and wound up picking up his first win of the season.
The A’s found some hits in their bats
The key hit was Grossman’s pinch-hit RBI double that drove home the winning run for the A’s. The Mariners defense had to play Grossman straight away because of his power which gave him some open alleys to place the ball. It was Grossman’s second double of the season. He is now 7-for-20 at the plate.
Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-4 in the game and raised his batting average to .190. The A’s really need Piscotty to get going as he usually provides some much-needed punch for the Oakland offense.
Mark Canha hit a double in the contest and raised his average to .273. The A’s need Canha’s clutch hitting to put them back into the playoff race.
Tied for first place
The victory on Saturday night raised the A’s record to 4-4. That puts them into a tie for first place in AL West with the Houston Astros. The 60-game streak is certainly going to interesting.
The A’s and Mariners play game three of this four-game wrap-around series on Sunday afternoon.
The A’s will send RHP Chris Bassitt to the hill to start the game. This will be his second start of the season. Bassitt earned a no-decision in his first start of the year.
The Mariners will counter with RHP Kendall Graveman who is 0-1 so far this season. Graveman lasted just four innings in his last start and currently has a 13.50 ERA.