Cruz hits 1st Mariners' homer in 5-4, 11-inning win over A's
Apr. 12, 2015
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nelson Cruz knew he was going to start hitting. It was just a matter of time.
Cruz hit his first home run for Seattle and Brad Miller threw out a runner at the plate in the 10th inning and doubled in the go-ahead run in the 11th, lifting the Mariners over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Saturday.
Signed to a $57 million, four-year contract as a free agent, Cruz entered 1 for 15 (.067) with no extra-base hits.
He had three hits Saturday, including a three-run homer in the eighth off Dan Otero that put the Mariners in front 4-2.
"It's always important. I need to hit. The whole lineup needs to contribute," Cruz said. "We needed this win, most importantly. The whole lineup contributed, getting hits and scratching out runs. We got a W. That's what we needed."
Oakland tied the score in the bottom half on RBI doubles by Ben Zobrist off Danny Farquhar and Brett Lawrie against Carson Smith.
Logan Morrison singled against Fernando Abad (0-1) leading off the 11th, advanced on Dustin Ackley's sacrifice and scored when Miller sliced a fastball into the left-field corner for an opposite-field hit.
Tyler Olson (1-0) pitched around two hits and two walks in the 10th, getting help when Ben Zobrist was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on Ike Davis' one-out double off the center-field fence. Austin Jackson grabbed the ball with his bare hand off a hop and threw to Miller. Zobrist hesitated between first and second bases and was thrown out by Miller, who made a one-hop throw to catcher Mike Zunino for the tag.
"I was thinking ball off the wall, runner on first, extra innings, he's probably going to go for it," Miller said. "In that situation you have to. So I just wanted to get it to Z. It was kind of a tough hop and he stuck it. He's a strong guy. I don't want to be running into him."
With runners on second and third and two outs, Marcus Semien grounded into an inning-ending forceout.
"I put myself into kind of a jam by not getting ahead with first-pitch strikes," said Olson, who earned his first major league win. "Having to battle through that showed myself a lot."
Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect 11th for his second save.
Otero allowed just his second run in 13 appearances against the Mariners, his first in 12 games.
"Once it got to 1-1, I was going to try and come in on him but it stayed right there," Otero said. "It wasn't a terrible pitch, but unfortunately in that situation it turned out that way."
A's starter Sonny Gray allowed two runs — one earned — and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. Ackley homered leading off the third, ending Gray's consecutive scoreless innings streak at 20 dating to Sept. 23.
Seattle starter J.A. Happ gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien gave Oakland a 2-1 lead with RBI singles in the seventh.
Mariners: Seth Smith (groin tightness) returned to the lineup after missing three games. INF Chris Taylor (wrist) is participating in baseball drills for Triple-A Tacoma.
Athletics: RHP A.J. Griffith (elbow surgery) and LHP Sean Nolin (core surgery) were scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game at extended spring training in Arizona. RHP Jarrod Parker (elbow) is slated to throw three innings of 15 pitches each against a Milwaukee Brewers minor league team on Monday, also in Arizona.
Felix Hernandez (1-0, 1.29) starts Sunday. He is10-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 18 starts at Oakland, and his 19 wins against the A's are his most against any team.
Jesse Hahn (0-1, 4.50) makes his second start for the A's on Sunday. He did not allow an earned run in over seven innings in his only career appearance against the Mariners, last June for San Diego. He gave up five hits, two to Robinson Cano.