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A's blank Mariners for doubleheader split

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland A's needed a spark Wednesday after dropping the first game of a doubleheader to the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings for their third straight loss in the four-game series.

That's exactly what they got from an unlikely source.

Left-handed reliever Drew Pomeranz, making his first start of the season, threw five shutout innings, and the A's defeated the Mariners 2-0 to salvage a split and snap their six-game home losing streak, the longest since 2007.

Seattle won the opener 6-4, scoring twice in the top of the 10th to snap a 4-4 tie.

"He's a beast," A's reliever Dan Otero said of Pomeranz. "That was awesome. We've been hearing rumors the last couple days that he might be starting this game. ... Then obviously his number got called and he did probably better than anybody expected. With that pitch count it's tough to get through five, and he was able to and really helped the rest of our pitching staff and put our team in a good position to win."

After Pomeranz departed, Otero pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his second save of the season and first since April 6 against Seattle. But the spotlight for most of the game was on Pomeranz.

Pomeranz (2-1) earned the victory in his first start as an Athletic after nine relief appearances. He allowed just two hits, walked none and struck out five. He threw 68 pitches, 47 for strikes, and made it clear that he is a viable option to join the rotation, which has received no wins from No. 5 starter Tommy Milone and one victory from No. 4 starter Dan Straily.

"I really didn't have any expectations," Pomeranz said. "My main focus was to see how long I could last."

The A's acquired Pomeranz from the Colorado Rockies on Dec. 10 with minor league right-hander Chris Jensen for left-hander Brett Anderson. Pomeranz made 30 starts for the Rockies over parts of the previous three seasons, going 4-14 in those outings. He went 0-4 as a starter last season, and he moved to the bullpen after a stint on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Out of the bullpen this season, Pomeranz went 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA over 13 2/3 innings.

What was working for Pomeranz in his first start?

"Everything," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Pretty fantastic for a guy who hasn't started a game for us in spring or this season."

Pomeranz said he "felt a little weird at first" when he took the mound.

"I was trying to take the same mentality I've had all year," Pomeranz said. "I've had some success doing that, staying in the stretch, keeping things as simple as I can out there. Just tried to treat it like I was coming into a game."

Pomeranz did make one switch. He threw changeups in a game for the first time this season.

Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who was called up Wednesday from Triple-A Tacoma, allowed just two runs on six hits over six innings but took the loss. Ramirez (1-4) gave up a solo home run to left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth inning and fell to the A's for the third time this season.

"I showed what I've been doing down in Tacoma," Ramirez said. "I felt good how I looked in the game."

The A's took a 1-0 lead in the third with a run off Ramirez. With two outs, center fielder Craig Gentry reached on an infield single. Shortstop Jed Lowrie then blooped a single that dropped between shortstop Willie Bloomquist and Gillespie as the speedy Gentry scored all the way from first.

Cespedes made it 2-0 in the fourth, hitting a one-out homer over the left-field fence. The Oakland left fielder drilled a 2-0 slider for his sixth home run of the season and second in two days.

"I just tried to go to the bottom of the strike zone," Ramirez said. "That's what I did. He just got the middle of the bat on it. That was good hitting."

The Mariners' five-game winning streak ended, but they went 7-2 on their road trip.

"Just phenomenal," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I was very proud of the team and how they played. Put ourselves in a pretty good position."

NOTES: A's CF Coco Crisp suffered a strained neck in the first game, crashing into the right-center-field fence after making a spectacular catch in the fourth inning. He left that game, missed the second game and likely will miss "a couple days," manager Bob Melvin said. ... A's RHP Ryan Cook sustained a forearm strain in the top of the 10th inning of the first game and couldn't continue after striking out DH Corey Hart. Cook will undergo an MRI on Thursday.
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