Athletics 6, Mariners 5

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Bobby Crosby got mad when the Mariners intentionally walked two batters in front of him. That anger helped him get a big win for Oakland.

Crosby’s sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth scored pinch-runner Esteban German with the winning run Monday night in the Athletics’ 6-5 victory over Seattle.

“When they walk people in front of me, it puts a fire under me,” Crosby said. “I think it’s a good fire. ‘So, you want to face me? We’ll see what happens. I’ll show you you made a mistake.”’

The A’s maintained their one-game lead in the AL West over second-place Anaheim, which won 5-3 at Texas.

Oakland held Ichiro Suzuki to one hit, leaving him five shy of George Sisler’s 84-year-old record of 257. The Mariners have six games remaining.

“It’s official shouting distance now,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Suzuki has had aspirations of this record since 1994, when he broke the Japanese mark for hits in a season.

“That’s when I heard about the record over here and became interested,” he said.

Octavio Dotel (5-2) pitched a perfect ninth, getting two strikeouts and Mark Kotsay’s clutch catch against the center-field wall on a hard-hit ball by Jose Lopez.

Erubiel Durazo hit a bloop double off Ron Villone (7-6) leading off the bottom half, a ball between left fielder Raul Ibanez and Lopez, the shortstop. The two didn’t communicate, and the ball went off Lopez’s glove and dropped in shallow left.

“It just fell in. They both called for it, and with the urgency of it, it was just too loud for them,” Melvin said. “Lopez was aware where Ibanez was. It just fell in the Bermuda Triangle.”

Jermaine Dye’s groundout moved Durazo to third, then Scott Hatteberg drew an intentional walk to put runners on the corners. German ran for Durazo, and Marco Scutaro was intentionally walked.

Crosby, coming off a 5-for-32 trip, lined a 1-0 pitch to right to win it.

Dye and Scutaro homered earlier, but the A’s couldn’t hold their lead.

Willie Bloomquist tied the game at 5 with a three-run homer off Barry Zito in the seventh following consecutive singles by Lopez and Dan Wilson. Pitching coach Curt Young went out to chat with Zito before Bloomquist’s at-bat and, in hindsight, Oakland would have been better off taking him out then.

Suzuki singled after the homer, then Zito got Randy Winn to fly out before Chad Bradford came on to retire Edgar Martinez for the final out of the inning.

The A’s, the two-time defending division champions, have been in first place in the AL West for 53 straight days—their longest stretch since 1992, when they spent the final 61 days of the season in sole possession of the lead.

Suzuki went 1-for-4 with the seventh-inning single.

“It would be outstanding if he broke the record here and didn’t hurt us in the process,” said A’s infielder Mark McLemore, who played with Suzuki the past three seasons in Seattle. “I got to see the majority of the hits.”

Kotsay extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning single, the first of his four hits. Kotsay’s RBI single in the second gave the A’s 1,502 hits, breaking the previous club record of 1,501, set in 2000.

But his catch was the game-saver.

“I started jumping up and down like a fan,” left fielder Eric Byrnes said.

Kotsay wasn’t sure he had it.

“Not off the bat,” he said. “I broke and picked up the wall late and then found the ball. I went up and it stayed in my glove. That doesn’t always happen.”

Zito retired 12 of his first 13 batters before Bret Boone’s leadoff double in the fifth and effectively shut down the Mariners’ lineup with his curveball. The left-hander, winless in five of his last six starts, allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.

The A’s loaded the bases in the first and third innings against Jamie Moyer, who was done after five innings and 98 pitches. Last Tuesday, Moyer won last Tuesday at Anaheim for the first time in 18 starts—more than three months— after losing 10 straight decisions during that span.

Dye sent a 2-2 pitch from Moyer into the left-field seats in the fifth for his 22nd homer of the year, and Scutaro connected two batters later to almost the same spot for his seventh homer this season.

It was amazing the game started only one minute late—the grounds crew worked nearly 22 hours straight to get the field converted and playable following the Oakland Raiders’ win over Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

“I feel like after something like that, it’s a miracle just to get it playable,” head groundskeeper Clay Wood said.

Notes

Neither team took batting practice because of the field work, and the A’s did their stretching in the Raiders’ locker room. … One sign hanging from a railing in the Coliseum read, “Edgar, thanks for all the great years. You’ll be missed.” Martinez, Seattle’s popular DH, is retiring after the season. … It was Kotsay’s third four-hit game this year and eighth of his career. He has one five-hit game in his career.

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