Yoenis Cespedes dropped a routine fly ball in the seventh inning that gave the Mariners a free baserunner.
He made up for it big-time an inning later.
Cespedes’ two-run homer in the eighth, followed by a Josh Donaldson solo blast in the ninth, propelled the A’s to a 3-0 win over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.
Cespedes turned on an 81-mph slider from Charlie Furbish, who had walked Jed Lowrie to lead off the inning. Cespedes deposited the pitch over the A’s bullpen beyond the left field wall for his second home run of the season.
Donaldson then provided the A’s with an insurance run in the top of the ninth, blasting a Lucas Luetge sinker into the right field seats.
But that would be it in terms of offense in this game.
As odd as it may have sounded two years ago, both Scott Kazmir and Chris Young threw gems for their respective teams. Both went six innings, and neither allowed a run to cross the plate.
Kazmir, in fact, retired the first 10 batters he faced before a Brad Miller single in the fourth. Robinson Cano’s single followed Miller with one out, but Kazmir was able to escape the inning unscathed, his only stressful inning of the game.
Kazmir allowed just the two hits in six innings, striking out nine in a dominating performance. However, he did exit the game after the sixth, and appeared to be feeling some discomfort in his arm. His ERA sits at a minuscule 1.40 through three starts, and somewhere Billy Beane is smiling at his offseason acquisition.
The A’s did have several opportunities to get on the board against Young, but Young pitched around trouble as the A’s went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on base.
But it didn’t matter, because Kazmir and the A’s bullpen combined to shut down the Mariners. Fernando Abad and Dan Otero combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, and Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle finished things off in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Oakland is now 8-4 in this early season, taking two out of three in Seattle, and will head to Anaheim to take on the Angels in a three-game series starting Monday.