After a quiet first two games, the Oakland Athletics finally showed some punch their last time out.
The Athletics look to stay hot at the plate Thursday afternoon and salvage a four-game split with the visiting Seattle Mariners .
Oakland (1-2) went a combined 6 for 60 and scored just one run in opening 0-2 before breaking out during Wednesday's 6-2 victory. Jed Lowrie and fellow newcomer Chris Young hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning for the A's, who had 11 hits and stormed back after falling behind 2-0 in the first.
"To get some run support and know the team has got your back, especially going down 2-0, it's a big deal," Tommy Milone said after throwing seven sharp innings. "It kind of lit a fire under my butt and told me that I needed to keep this game close."
Lowrie, who was acquired from Houston on Feb. 4, finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs. First baseman Nate Freiman also came up big with two hits and an RBI in his major league debut.
The A's now give the ball to A.J. Griffin, who's looking to build on last season's impressive rookie campaign. The right-hander went 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA over 15 starts after getting called up June 24.
Griffin, though, struggled down the stretch, going 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in his last four regular season outings.
"The numbers at the end weren't as good as they were in the beginning, but he's definitely somewhere between," manager Bob Melvin told the team's official website. "He's a good pitcher, and he's going to get better and better."
Griffin also got knocked around during spring training, going 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts.
"I just try to focus on what makes me good and how I'm going to help the team the most," he said. "Just more about the process in trying to get on the right track."
Griffin won both his outings against Seattle (2-1) last year while posting a 1.64 ERA and striking out 11 in as many innings. While he's limited Dustin Ackley , Franklin Gutierrez and Justin Smoak to a combined one hit in 13 at-bats, Griffin will need to be wary of Michael Morse , who's homered three times over the last two games. Gutierrez also went deep Wednesday.
The Mariners counter with 22-year-old Brandon Maurer , who's set to make his big league debut. The promising right-hander earned a spot in the rotation after going 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA over seven games - four starts - in spring training. He struck out 25 and walked seven in 24 innings.
"He had a great camp," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official website. "You're talking about a young man that has multiple plus pitches. The way it worked out, he faced a lot of big league lineups and handled it well. Different situations, he handled all of them. He showed great stuff, poise, and had some presence out there. He came in here and took it."
Smoak, who's 1 for 10 this season, is 9 for 82 (.110) over his last 22 games against the A's.
Oakland's Scott Sizemore went 1 for 4 on Wednesday, his first game since suffering a torn left ACL on the first day of spring training in 2012.
|March 25, 2013||Josh Kinney||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, left shoulder|
|March 19, 2013||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Stiffness in neck|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 26, 2013||Adam Rosales||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|March 23, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 14, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 14, 2013||Grant Balfour||Day-to-Day||Right knee surgery - out 4-6 weeks|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- After getting off to an 0-for-10 start with his new bushy beard, Josh Reddick was happy to silence those critics calling on him to shave.
Reddick homered in his first at-bat and drove in four runs to lead the Oakland Athletics to an 8-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
"I think everybody's getting a little too superstitious too early," Reddick said. "We're four games in. Let it go. It's not like I'm going to go oh-fer for the whole year. That's just fans being fans on Twitter. So I just got to let it go in one ear and out the other. My face. I'll do what I want with it."
Yoenis Cespedes also homered as Oakland gave Brandon Maurer a rude welcome to the big leagues. A.J. Griffin (1-0) allowed two runs in six innings and John Jaso drove in a run against his former team as the Athletics won back-to-back games to earn a split of the season-opening series.
After being held to one run and six hits in the first two games, Oakland broke out with 14 runs, 21 hits and 13 extra-base hits the past two games.
"I feel like we weren't the team we know we can be," Reddick said. "We kind of really woke up yesterday and today. To split the series is good for us, and just have a happy flight going to Houston with a little bit of confidence on our side."
Michael Morse homered for the third straight day and joined Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997 as the only Mariners to homer four times in the first four games. But that wasn't enough as Maurer (0-1) struggled in his major league debut.
"I know what I need to learn now," Maurer said. "I know some things I need to work on, so I'll take that. I think I'll be a little more comfortable the next time."
Maurer made the jump from Double-A to the majors based on a strong spring training, becoming the first Mariners pitcher to make the opening-day rotation without pitching in Triple-A in 20 years.
Maurer was Seattle's minor league pitcher of the year last season and is being counted on to perform in the majors this season. He got off to a rough start in his debut when Coco Crisp led off with a single and Reddick hit a one-out drive into the seats in right-center to make it 2-0.
Reddick had been hitless in his first 10 at-bats this season after hitting 32 homers last season when he was a major part of Oakland's surprising success. He finished this game with a homer, double and four RBIs.
"The longer it goes the more you press a little bit," manager Bob Melvin said. "To hit a home run like that and be the big blow of the game at that time and then have good at-bats after that makes you relax. Hopefully we're past all of that."
Maurer didn't give up another hit until the fifth when Chris Young doubled and scored on Jaso's single.
Maurer ran into more trouble in the sixth when Jed Lowrie and Reddick opened the inning with doubles and Cespedes followed with his second homer of the season to make it 6-2. Maurer allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings with no walks and one strikeout.
"I'm sure he learned a lot today, and he'll continue to learn," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's just part of it. But he threw the ball well overall. Once he got settled in there, he got into a little bit of a groove. Got Coco out there, first hitter in the sixth, then they got to him quickly and I had to get him out of there. I wanted him to finish that inning after they had the swings. I wanted him to walk off the field, and he did."
Griffin retired the first seven batters in his first start of the season and didn't allow a run until the fifth when Dustin Ackley started a rally with an infield hit. After a hit by Kelly Shoppach and a sacrifice bunt by Robert Andino , Michael Saunders drove in Seattle's first run with a sacrifice fly.
Griffin stranded two runners in the fifth when he got Raul Ibanez to pop out. The Mariners added another run in the sixth on Morse's homer and had two on with two outs when Griffin escaped by striking out Robert Andino .
Griffin allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings to improve to 3-0 in his brief career against Seattle.
NOTES: Lowrie doubled twice and has five extra-base hits the past two games. ... Oakland 1B Brandon Moss left the game early when his wife went into labor and will not travel with the team to Houston. ... The A's head to Houston to play their first AL series ever against the Astros when Dan Straily takes on Brad Peacock , who was sent to Houston by Oakland this offseason in the deal for Lowrie. ... The Mariners open a three-game series in Chicago on Friday with Blake Beavan taking on Jose Quintana .