Athletics 3, Mariners 2, 11 innings
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Two years ago, Terrence Long tried to go from first to third on a single when then-rookie Ichiro Suzuki made an unbelievable throw to nail Long at third, propelling the Japanese star into the national spotlight.
This time, Long beat the throw.
Long hit a pinch-hit game-tying single and came sliding home just ahead of Suzuki’s throw for the winning run on Jermaine Dye’s sacrifice fly as the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 in 11 innings Tuesday night.
After Ben Davis gave Seattle a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the top of the 11th against Keith Foulke (5-1), the A’s came back in the bottom half to move within six games of the first-place Mariners in the AL West.
Erubiel Durazo started the rally with a leadoff single against Arthur Rhodes and went to second on shortstop Carlos Guillen’s throwing error. Jeff Nelson (3-2) came in and immediately gave up Long’s single that tied it at 2.
Long is 4-for-8 in his career against Nelson.
“For some reason I just have success against him, and it seems like a key situation against him all the time,” Long said.
Long went to second on Frank Menechino’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Nelson’s costly wild pitch.
Dye, back in the lineup after missing seven of eight games with a nagging knee injury, then hit a fly ball to right field. Long slid in and narrowly beat Suzuki’s throw to score the winning run.
“It was good to see him back in the lineup,” Long said of Dye. “It was a relief to see him back out there.”
Rhodes has had a rough few days. He gave up a game-winning grand slam to San Diego’s Rondell White in a loss to the Padres on Sunday.
“This doesn’t faze me,” he said. “I have to throw my game out there and not worry about what people think I should do. For a bullpen to be effective, you can’t stick to one guy. You have to use everyone.”
The second game of this key four-game series between the past two division champions featured magnificent defensive plays and plenty of solid pitching, even if that wasn’t evident at the end. The A’s had lost five of seven and had dropped 23 games this season by one or two runs, including six of their last seven.
“We saved them for the very end if we needed them,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said of his tired closers, who are overworked in the absence of injured Kazuhiro Sasaki. “Our strategy tonight didn’t work. We wanted Arthur to pitch to one or two guys and then Jeff finish them off. But Durazo’s hit changed all that.”
Tim Hudson, who has beaten Seattle twice this year, got his ninth no-decision in 18 starts. As has been the case many times, Hudson pitched well enough to win but didn’t receive enough run support to get the victory. He allowed one run and five hits in eight innings.
After retiring the side in order in the first, Meche got into trouble in the second when he loaded the bases on a walk to Billy McMillon with two outs. Mark Ellis hit an RBI single that got past Guillen and just out of the infield for a 1-0 A’s lead. Eric Byrnes then lined out to left. He went 0-for-5 and had his 13-game hitting streak snapped.
Hudson worked out of his own jam in the sixth. Davis hit a leadoff double and went to third on Suzuki’s sacrifice bunt. Hudson got Randy Winn and Bret Boone to ground out, and subtly pumped his fist as he walked back into the dugout.
Boone, one of few Mariners with strong numbers against Hudson coming in (.375 average), hit an RBI triple in the fourth that Byrnes couldn’t catch against the wall in center.
Hudson’s defense was solid behind him, the A’s just couldn’t score. They hit into two double plays, while the Mariners had three.
Ramon Hernandez made two nice throws to catch Guillen stealing twice, one in the third and then again in the fifth.
Winn made an impressive running catch on Eric Chavez’s liner into the corner in left, and his quick throw back to the infield doubled up Hernandez at first base in the seventh.
Chavez then left the game with a bruised right foot. He had fouled a pitch off his foot in the third. He will have X-rays Wednesday morning.
“It’s 100 percent bruised,” trainer Larry Davis said. “It’s a bruiseuntil such time we find out otherwise.”
Seattle 1B John Mabry, filling in for the injured John Olerud, turned an unassisted double play in the fourth. McMillon was off the bag ready to run and Ellis lined a ball to Mabry, who touched first. … The Mariners have gone32 games without allowing an unearned run.