The Athletics won the final series of the year against the Mariners 4-0, completing the A's 12th shutout of the season. Jon Lester escaped a number of jams to complete yet another quality start, and Brandon Moss homered for the first time since July 24.
Sam Fuld super power
Getting Jon Lester a lead before he throws a pitch: A good strategy.— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) September 14, 2014
Sam Fuld hit his fourth home run of the year as the second batter to face Mariners starter Chris Young. He knocked a 1-2 pitch just over Chris Denorfia's leap in right field to give the A's an early 1-0 lead.
Norris playing hurt, and it showed
The Mariners had quite a lot of traffic on the basepaths, and all day it felt like as soon as a seafarer got aboard, he would steal second base. In the first, Norris threw the ball into Austin Jackson and no one could recover the throw, allowing Jackson to proceed to third base. In the third, Chris Denorfia took second and Norris again threw the ball into the runner, this time Sogard prevented the ball from going into the outfield.
Chris Taylor was credited with a stolen base in the fourth inning when Norris could not corral what would have been called a wild pitch if Taylor wasn't running. Austin Jackson took second in the fifth. Norris allowed a wild pitch in each of the seventh and eighth innings. The last whoopsie was Derek Norris clearing himself on a swinging strike three in the dirt, and bouncing the throw to Brandon Moss who had to make a good pick. He seemed to be in a lot of discomfort every time he threw.
Melvin says Norris has a little hip thing but he's fine. "he's a catcher."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 14, 2014
Lester not quite on, but he's an ace
Jon Lester didn't pitch particularly well today. He threw six scoreless anyway. Feel OK about him pitching a Wild-Card game?— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) September 14, 2014
Despite the Mariners taking advantage on the basepaths, they could not convert anything Jon Lester offered to them. In each of the first three innings, Lester allowed a single and a walk. Lester escaped the first using a 6-4-3 double play. He escaped the second by striking out Chris Taylor and Jesus Sucre, he escaped the third by getting Corey Hart to ground out to first. It took 61 pitches to do it, however.
The high-effort innings continued with the Mariners working deep counts and getting a runner in scoring position on stolen bases in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Lester got Sucre to ground out to Josh Donaldson. In the fifth, the Mariners could not score Austin Jackson from scoring position with only one out. Robinson Cano flew out to left, and Kendrys Morales struck out, the seventh and final strikeout for Lester.
Lester has just the one 1-2-3 sixth inning, the Mariners left seven against him after 110 pitches.
Post game, the bear is draped at Brandon Moss's locker #Athletics— John Hickey (@JHickey3) September 14, 2014
Why is that? A seventh-inning Brandon Moss dinger eight rows deep to right field that gave the A's a 2-0 lead. It was Moss' first home run since July 24.
Fuld jokes he gets some credit for Moss' HR because Moss was feeling the heat from Fuld's HR total (four. To Moss' 24.)— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 14, 2014
Dan Otero escapes the 7th
Otero's reaction to getting out of the 7th: "How did I do that?"— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 14, 2014
Dan Otero was handed a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, and Lloyd McClendon began to empty his bench. Endy Chavez singled, and then Logan Morrison singled as well. The runners then advanced to second and third still with nobody out.
But then Dan Otero did what he does best, get a ground ball. Austin Jackson grounded hard to Brandon Moss, the runners had to hold, one out. Michael Saunders, batting for Chris Denorfia, had just about the worst possible at bat in that situation, swinging at three bad pitches to eliminate the sacrifice possibility.
With two out, Bob Melvin elected to intentionally walk Robinson Cano, the go-ahead run, despite Fernando Abad being available, and it paid off when Kendrys Morales flew out to left, the lead preserved at 2-0 after seven.
A bona fide multi-hit multi-error rally
I think without the first error, Fuld is erased on a fielder’s choice on Donaldson’s ground ball to Cano. So 1 earned run in the 8th.— Jeremy F. Koo (@jfkooAN) September 14, 2014
The Mariners kicked away any chance they had to come back in this one in the eighth inning. Taijuan Walker entered and gave up a one-out double to Coco Crisp. Then Sam Fuld singled to right to score Crisp, and Fuld advanced to second when Corey Hart bobbled the ball after cutting it off in left field. Josh Donaldson came up and bounced it to second, but Robinson Cano could not get a handle on the ball, resulting in Cano's sixth error of the year.
With Fuld at third, Adam Dunn, on a 3-2 count, given the choice of all the true outcomes, instead singled on a groundball to right thanks to the runners aboard preventing the shift. Fuld walked home and the A's took a 4-0 lead.
For once, the lack of offense at the Coliseum is not the fault of the #Athletics.— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) September 14, 2014
Bullpen gets a 4-run lead? Don't worry about it
Luke Gregerson came in and, other than a single to Kyle Seager, struck out the side getting Corey Hart, Justin Smoak, and Mike Zunino dismissed on strikes.
Sean Doolittle came in to do his Sean Doolittle thing, even though it was not a save situation, because tomorrow is an off-day. Doolittle struck out two, taking his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 83-to-5, or 16.60.
The A's have won two in a row for the first time since August 22-23, and maybe, well:
It has happened before. We'll find out if it happens again Tuesday night when the Athletics return to the Coliseum to take on the Texas Rangers at 7:05 pm.