Adam Kennedy continues to amaze and the A's are all the better for it.
On a brilliant sun-shiny day at the Coliseum, the newly acquired second-basemen was penciled into the top spot of the batting order and responded in Rickey-fashion, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two stolen bases, a run scored, and two RBI's in Oakland's 6-1 victory over Seattle.
Kennedy is now batting a sizzling .431.
Brett Anderson went six innings in posting his second big league win.
After the right-hander worked out of a mini-jam in the top of the first, controversy ensued in the bottom half. With Kennedy taking off from first after a lead-off walk, Kurt Suzuki was called out on strikes as Kennedy stole second. While replays showed that Suzuki was merely trying to avoid interfering with the throw to the base, Bob Geren and hitting coach Jim Skaalen vehemently argued the call, with Skaalen given the heave-ho. Undeterred by all the commotion, Kennedy promptly swiped third, and scored on a hard-hit ground ball by Jack Cust, as Jose Lopez bounced his throw past catcher Kenji Johjima.
Anderson tried to sneak a fastball past Johjima, and the backstop tied the game with a booming homerun to left with one out in the second.
At first glance, the bottom third of today's posted A's lineup did nothing to inspire. Unless we're counting laughter. Such was the sad state of the much-maligned trio of Travis Buck (.215 heading into today's game), Bobby Crosby (.215), and Jack Hannahan (.186).
But the joke was on us- and more significantly, the Mariners- as the 7-8-9 hitters combined to go 4-for-8 with five runs scored, two RBI's, and one web gem.
Together they put the A's ahead to stay in the second inning. Buck walked with one out and went to third on Crosby's single, sliding in ahead of the tag as Adrian Beltre bobbled the ball at the bag. Hannahan turned on an off-speed offering from Chris Jakubauskas and doubled over Ichiro's head, driving in Buck with the lead run. Kennedy followed with his own two-bagger down the first-base line to plate Crosby and Hannahan to make it 4-1.
Many times you see a player make a great play in the field and then lead off the bottom half of the inning. Buck did it the other way around, with a homerun to start the fourth, and then went airborne to steal an extra base hit away from Beltre in the fifth, with two men on and no outs.
Anderson, as he did throughout, escaped with no runs added to his line, which read like this: 6IP, 1ER, 6H, 1BB, 2K. Half of those hits came off the bat of Ichiro- none of which left the infield- who ran his hitting streak to nineteen games.
The A's tacked on one more run in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Suzuki struck out (for real this time), but the ball skipped past catcher Rob Johnson, and Buck slid home safely for a 6-1 score.
It was not a game without flaws for Oakland, as Cust was thrown out at third on a ground ball to short in the first, but that play paled in comparison to the double-blunder in the fifth. With Matt Holliday on first base, Jason Giambi mistakenly thought that he worked a walk and began his waltz to first base. Holliday then took off for second, and as Giambi stood on first with his hands raised in confusion, Holliday was tagged out.
Other than those gaffes, it was a near-perfect day for the A's, and Kevin Cameron earned his first major-league save with three scoreless innings to seal the deal.
The AL West rivals do it again tomorrow at 7:05pm.