Cust’s late 2-run homer lifts A’s over M’s
This familiar Jack Cust effort featured a walk, a strikeout and a two-run homer.
“That’s been my whole career for better or worse,” Cust said Sunday after his eighth-inning home run helped give the A’s a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners. “Those are the three big things in my stat book.”
Oakland completed a three-game sweep and sent the last-place Mariners to their 11th straight loss.
Seattle went 0-11 on its final road trip of the season, the third time in franchise history the Mariners have failed to win on a trip of at least 10 games. The Mariners have lost 13 straight on the road.
Aaron Cunningham’s pinch-hit, two-run double against Miguel Batista (4-14) in the seventh tied it and the A’s earned their fourth season-series win against the Mariners in five years. Bobby Crosby also drove in a run for the A’s.
“You can never assume you’re not going to play,” Cunningham said. “I figured I might get an at-bat today so I stayed mostly prepared.”
“The phone rang, they said my name and I came in,” Devine said. “Whether it’s the seventh, eighth or ninth you still need to get three outs.”
A’s manager Bob Geren liked Ziegler’s matchups better in the eighth and had planned to use Devine in the ninth if it was a save situation. Both relief pitchers have an ERA under 1.00, making it difficult to question the maneuver.
“He’s been as good as Zieg, and I had wanted to give him the ninth,” Geren said. “The experience of closing was really just a byproduct.”
Devine, a three-year closer at North Carolina State, would like another shot.
“We have several closers in the bullpen, and it’s a good group, but it is something I’d love to do,” Devine said. “I have an extreme desire to do so.”
Seattle starter Brandon Morrow took a no-hitter into the sixth inning but took a no decision after allowing three runs and two hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked five and struck out six.
“That’s just in the learning process for Brandon,” Seattle manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s been asked to go out and mix in some changeups and not just throw fastballs. He needs three pitches to be a starter. This was a good game for his development. He needs to build on this.”
Morrow, who threw 7 2-3 no-hit innings in his first career start against the New York Yankees on Sept. 5, was lifted after tossing 113 pitches.
“Sometimes it’s losing concentration at the end of an inning, but I’m going to walk guys,” Morrow said. “It’s definitely something I need to bring down. The walks hurt me in terms of pitch count. I need to keep them off base.”
Sean Gallagher, sporting an outfit purchased for him by a couple of Chicago Cubs veterans before he was traded as part of the Rich Harden deal, went 6 2-3 innings for the A’s, giving up three runs, four hits and three walks. He struck out five.
“It feels good to be healthy again and doing what I feel like I am capable of,” said Gallagher, who stands to get a cut of the Cubs’ playoff share in the postseason. “This season is a little longer than I’m normally used to, but I want to keep going out there.”
Cust, who has struck on an AL-record 188 times, hit Oakland’s 62nd home run at home this year—the fewest by the A’s in a non-strike season since they had 60 in 1983.
Mariners INF Miguel Cairo has gone 771 at-bats without hitting a home run, the longest active streak in the major leagues. … Cust hit his 30th home run of the season. “It sounds better,” he said. “I’d be upset if it was only 29. Thirty is a good number.” … The A’s had gone 26 series since their last sweep, their longest stretch in three years. … Lopez, one double shy of 40, has hit safely in 28 of 30 games.