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Newcomers power A's to their first win

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland A's finally sprung to life offensively, and three newcomers provided the wake-up call.

Jed Lowrie, Chris Young and Nate Freiman drove in a total of five runs as the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 Wednesday night for their first victory of 2013.

The six runs were plenty for left-hander Tommy Milone (1-0), who gave up two home runs in the first but blanked the Mariners over the next six innings to get the victory.

Seattle held Oakland to one run over the first two games of this season-opening, four-game series, winning both games, but the A's banged out 11 hits Wednesday off three Mariners pitchers.

Lowrie, obtained from the Houston Astros during the offseason, hit a two-run double off Joe Saunders (0-1) in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie. He and Young then connected for back-to-back homers in the seventh off Kameron Loe to pad the A's lead to 6-2.

"Jed's been swinging the bat well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's nice to get Chris going, too, and get him on the board because he's a heck of a player. When you're on a new team like both those guys are, you want to impress early on."

But no one will take away better memories from Wednesday than Freiman. Making his major league debut after getting claimed off waivers from Houston late in spring training, he delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle in his first career at-bat in the second inning for the A's first run.

An excitable sort, Freiman pumped his hands enthusiastically as his first hit shot up the middle.

"That was a little unprofessional," he said afterward. "That was the little kid in me there."

Freiman, whose parents and brother were among the 15,162 in attendance, added another single along with a sliding catch of a foul pop-up near the first base dugout.

The Mariners, who began the season 2-0 for the eighth time in franchise history, simply couldn't get to Milone after the first inning.

Franklin Gutierrez crushed Milone's fourth pitch of the game for a leadoff homer. After the next two batters were retired, Michael Morse hit another solo homer to dead center, Morse's third homer against Oakland in two days.

The Mariners mustered just four baserunners the rest of the game. Milone went seven innings and gave up four hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Sean Doolittle and Chris Resop closed it out for Oakland.

"We got a couple of big balls in the first inning, but beyond that, (Milone) did a nice job," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He did a good job of working ahead. He used all of his pitches and made pitches."

Saunders lasted just four innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits and four walks. A first-year Mariner, the lefty admitted he and catcher Jesus Montero are still trying to make a connection.

"I'll to take him out to dinner to kind of figure it out," Saunders said. "But we have to work on stuff -- it's a learning experience. He's learning me and I'm learning him. We'll go to dinner in Chicago. It's tough to call pitches for me because he didn't know where it was going. I didn't know where it was going."

NOTES: Montero was in the lineup at catcher for the third straight day, the first time in his career he's drawn three consecutive starts behind the plate in three days. Wedge said Kelly Shoppach would catch Thursday's matinee, but he wants to gauge how Montero deals with the heavy defensive workload so he knows how to handle Montero's innings over the season. ... Catcher Derek Norris, Freiman and Young all drew their first starts for the A's, but Melvin said Wednesday's lineup righty-dominated lineup would not be etched in stone against lefty pitchers. ... A's shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima (strained left hamstring) played catch before the game, and infielder Adam Rosales (strained left side muscle) is getting close to hitting off a tee, but there's no indication when either will be ready to come off the disabled list.
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