Eveland makes smooth return to A’s

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SEATTLE (AP)—Dana Eveland came back from Triple-A with different mechanics, and a different result.

Eveland made a smooth return to the majors, pitching shutout ball into the seventh inning and helping the Oakland Athletics defeat the Seattle Mariners 5-1 Saturday night.

“You’ve got to give some credit to Sacramento,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “They saw something in his delivery they thought would help. It was an opportunity to try something in the minor leagues and it worked perfectly for him.”

The change involved Eveland keeping his hands in front of him and not going into a windup over his head. It also meant keeping his body from turning as much and not lifting his leg as high before striding to the plate.

“I’ve simplified my delivery so much that it feels the same to me from the stretch and from the windup,” Eveland said.

“The other way, going over the head, was a big difference and so I would almost confuse myself when I would go between the stretch and the windup,” he said.

Eveland (8-8) had been sent down to Sacramento earlier this month after going 0-3 with a 10.59 ERA in a four-start span. Promoted back to the A’s on Thursday, he beat Seattle for the third time this season and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.

“Eveland did a very good job,” Mariners skipper Jim Riggleman said. “He did that to us over at their place. Richie (Sexson) hit a three-run homer in the first and then he proceeded to shut us down.”

Eveland threw first-pitch strikes to the first nine hitters he faced and took advantage of a free-swinging Mariners team.

“I hit my spots, threw a lot of strikes,” Eveland said. “It was a good day all around. It felt really good to get out there again and to win again was just a bonus.”

Bobby Crosby had three hits for the second straight game and drove in two runs for Oakland. He hit a pair of RBI singles and a double.

Eveland gave up five hits and one run in seven innings. He blanked the Mariners until Wladimir Balentien doubled home a run.

Eveland was demoted on Aug. 3 after Boston tagged him for nine runs in just two innings. The A’s haven’t always helped him a whole lot—in his 23 starts this year, they’ve scored two runs or fewer 12 times.

“All of his pitches were never really in question when he was here the first time, it was just the command of the strike zone,” Geren said. “I think the little tweak in his delivery made a huge difference and it showed tonight. The ball-to-strike ratio was incredible. It was what guys need to do to be successful at this level and he did it.”

Daric Barton homered off Jarrod Washburn (5-14) in the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Eric Patterson led off the fifth inning with a double, Rajai Davis sacrificed and Crosby singled.

Crosby singled home another run in the seventh after Patterson singled, stole second and moved up on another sacrifice bunt by Davis. Frank Thomas then followed with a single that scored Davis.

Washburn went six innings and allowed three runs and seven hits. He has not won since beating Toronto on July 27.

Raul Ibanez tripled with two outs in the Seattle fourth, but Eveland struck out Jose Lopez to end the inning.

Notes

Thomas snapped a career-worst 0-for-23 streak with a single off Washburn in the fourth inning. … A’s manager Bob Geren said 2B Mark Ellis is day-to-day with pain in his right shoulder. Geren also said the blurry vision that forced LF Jack Cust to leave Friday’s game had subsided, but Cust did not play. … Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre was the designated hitter to rest a sore left shoulder. … Mariners starting pitchers have not won a game in August. … RF Ichiro Suzuki had eight putouts, which tied a Seattle record for a nine-inning game. The last time it was accomplished was July 29, 2007, by Jose Guillen.

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