A's avoid sweep against Mariners

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics' offense was in a deep sleep for two games against the Seattle Mariners on the heels of a grueling, 18-inning win over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The A's scored a combined two runs Friday and Saturday, dropping back-to-back games, and they trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning Sunday against Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who hadn't allowed an earned run in 31 2/3 straight innings.

Seth Smith and Josh Reddick had RBI hits in the fourth as Oakland pulled even. The A's added two more runs in the fifth, four more in the seventh and two in the eighth in a 10-2 victory. They avoided being swept at home for the first time this season and prevented the Mariners from notching their first sweep of the year.

In case there were any doubts that the A's bats are once again wide awake, Josh Donaldson and Smith hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh, and Brandon Moss and Reddick crushed solo home runs in the eighth.

"It was good. We avoided a sweep for one, and (against) a guy who's been better than King Felix," Reddick said, referring to Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but from what I saw, (Iwakuma) left a lot of pitches out over the plate, and we weren't missing them."

The A's pounded out 17 hits, and Reddick matched his career high with four hits -- a home run, a triple and two singles.

Iwakuma (7-2) gave up four runs on eight hits in five innings as the A's decisively ended his five-game winning streak. His ERA rose from 1.79 to 2.06.

"The pitches that were hit were up in the zone, and that's where I needed to make the adjustment," Iwakuma said. "I just couldn't make the adjustment during the game."

A's right-hander Bartolo Colon (9-2) survived a rough opening to win his sixth straight start, allowing two runs on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked none. After giving up two runs on seven hits through two innings, Colon blanked the Mariners on one hit over the next five.

"Quite a recovery," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was probably one hit away from (us) getting somebody up (in the bullpen), and he pitched seven innings. We've seen him do some pretty remarkable things this year, and that ranks right up there."

The A's extended their lead in the American League West to three full games over Texas. Oakland begins a four-game series against the Rangers at Arlington on Monday night.

The Mariners grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the second when they bunched five singles together against Colon.

"He battled back, he settled down after that," Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez said of Colon. "We weren't able to break it open against him. He's definitely a great pitcher. We had the opportunities early on, and then he settled in and did his thing."

The A's left four runners on base over the first three innings but broke through for two runs in the fourth off Iwakuma.

Donaldson ripped a leadoff double to left-center, snapping an 0-for-16 skid that ended one at-bat shy of his tying his career long. Then Smith brought Donaldson home, one-hopping a double off the right field fence. Reddick lined an RBI single to center, making it 2-2.

"I think that's my first time in a while of just kind of being a little out of it," said Donaldson, who's hitting a team-high .307 and leads the A's with 43 RBIs. "It was one of those things where I just tried to stay in every at-bat, stay in the game the entire time. I got a good pitch my second at-bat and was able to hit it, and from there on kind of built a little bit of confidence going forward. With everybody else hitting the ball pretty well, it's good."

The A's scored two more runs off Iwakuma in the fifth, taking a 4-2 lead. Leading off, catcher John Jaso walked for the third straight time and scored when Yoenis Cespedes rocketed a double to the base of the wall in left-center. Moss lined an RBI single to center, driving in Cespedes.

"From that fourth on, we seemed to be running to the bat rack," Reddick said.

NOTES: The showers and rest rooms in both clubhouses at the aging Coliseum were flooded after the game, and players had to shower in the locker room that the Oakland Raiders use on game days during the NFL season. ... A's SS Jed Lowrie was out of the lineup, with Melvin saying he wanted to give Lowrie a day off. "It's still kind of the effects of the 18-inning game," the manager said. ... Mariners 1B Justin Smoak (strained right oblique) is "doing really good" in his rehab stint at Triple-A Tacoma and might be activated as soon as Monday when Seattle opens a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, manager Eric Wedge said. ... Cespedes started at designated hitter for the third straight game as he continued to recover from a strained right hamstring, but Melvin said there's a chance Cespedes could return to left field Monday.
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