SEATTLE – Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth looking for some redemption for a defensive miscue, and he found it in a big way.
Cespedes crushed a two-run homer to snap a scoreless tie and power the A’s to a 3-0 victory Saturday over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. An inning earlier, Cespedes dropped a very catchable liner in left field, one of a few defensive miscues he’s had early in the season.
But his second homer of 2014 helped the A’s take two of three from Seattle as they now head to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.
Scott Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings for the A’s before leaving the game with an apparent injury. No concrete information was available by game’s end.
Ferando Abad and Dan Otero combined on a scoreless seventh and Luke Gregerson handled the eighth. Sean Doolittle, who gave way to Gregerson for Saturday’s save, this time handled the ninth himself and picked up his first save of the season.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir was absolutely dealing through six innings, allowing just two hits, striking out nine and facing just two batters over the minimum. Then he was seen talking to manager Bob Melvin and assistant trainer Walt Horn in the dugout during the top of the seventh, and Fernando Abad entered for him in the bottom of the seventh. A camera shot showed him holding his forearm at one point. It makes sense the A’s would be cautious with Kazmir, who has hit the D.L. with an assortment of injuries over his career, including elbow and shoulder injuries.
The lefty put on a clinic through six innings, running his fastball up to 94 miles per hour and pairing it with a very effective changeup.
The A’s so far are getting by in the late innings since Jim Johnson was pulled from the closer’s role. Doolittle and Gregerson have formed a solid lefty-righty combination in the eighth and ninth, with others having success setting them up.
At the plate
Seattle right-hander Chris Young was up to the task of dueling Kazmir. The big right-hander threw six scoreless innings in his first major league start since 2012.
Pinch hitter Jed Lowrie worked a walk against lefty reliever Charlie Furbush to lead off the top of the eighth. Then Cespedes drove a 2-2 slider over the left-field wall for a two-run homer to break the scoreless tie. An inning earlier, Cespedes had Corey Hart’s liner clank off his glove for an error that didn’t come back to haunt the A’s.
Josh Donaldson provided some cushion in the top of the ninth with his third homer, an opposite-field drive to right that made it 3-0. The A’s registered eight hits total.
In the field
One of the few hard-hit balls the Mariners managed off Kazmir turned into one of the game’s defensive highlights. Brad Miller drove a ball deep to right that Josh Reddick made a leaping catch on against the wall. It doesn’t rank up there with some of Reddick’s best catches, but then again that’s a tough list to crack.
The announced turnout was 22,628.
The A’s wrap up a nine-game road trip in Anaheim beginning Monday. Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.38) matches up against lefty Hector Santiago (0-2, 7.71) in the opener. Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77) and Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.75) square off Tuesday. In the finale, Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.40) takes the mound against lefty Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 2.40). All three games start at 7:05 p.m.