Athletics 5, Mariners 2

When Coco Crisp is getting on base, the Oakland Athletics’
struggling offense hums.

The Oakland speedster had three hits, scored three runs and
stole a base in sparking the offense. Josh Willingham added three
RBIs in the late innings and the A’s earned a series split with a
5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Crisp has six hits in his last two games, breaking a skid that
saw him bat just .175 over the pervious 15 games. After being shut
out by Seattle on consecutive nights, the offense broke through for
14 runs and 22 hits over the weekend.

”When he gets rolling, our offense takes off. There’s no
doubt,” A’s manager Bob Geren said.

With the game tied at 1 in the seventh, Crisp reached on a
fielder’s choice against reliever Aaron Laffey (0-1) and moved to
third on a single by pinch-hitter Conor Jackson. Willingham
followed with a double down the left-field line that Milton Bradley
misplayed in the corner and allowed Jackson to score from first to
give Oakland a 3-1 lead.

Seattle got a run back in the bottom half as Michael Saunders
led off with an infield single. Jack Wilson reached on a throwing
error by Kevin Kouzmanoff and the runners advanced as the ball
caromed into the stands. Ryan Langerhans picked up an RBI on a
groundout to first that allowed Saunders to score, but Wilson was
left stranded at third as Ichiro Suzuki flew out to center and
Chone Figgins struck out looking.

The Mariners threatened again in the eighth inning, but
pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez struck out to strand the tying run at
third.

”We’ve got to break through this,” Seattle manger Eric Wedge
said. ”We had opportunities on and off throughout the course of
the ballgame. These guys are going to have to figure out a way to
fight through whatever they are going through mentally,
fundamentally for that matter, and finish off innings. That’s the
difference in the ballgame.”

Oakland tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the ninth inning
to seal the win.

Brett Anderson (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and struck
out six over seven innings of work to earn the victory. Brian
Fuentes came on in the eighth inning and struck out three of his
four batters in picking up the four-out save. It was his sixth save
in seven chances.

”It was quite an effort late for him,” manager Bob Geren said.
”He pitched well the whole game but he showed me something in the
seventh right there to get through that inning. He got some big
outs for us there at the end.”

”He used two different speeds on his breaking ball very
effectively. He threw the ball well.”

Hideki Matsui came up with a two out single to right field that
scored Crisp from second to give Oakland the 1-0 lead.

Suzuki led off with a bunt single of his own in the bottom half
of the first and, despite appearing to be picked off by Anderson,
was able to get into second base safely when Daric Barton’s throw
hit him in the backside.

A grounder to second by Bradley brought Suzuki home and tied it
at 1.

Mariners starter Doug Fister worked out of a jam in the fifth
after giving up a leadoff triple to Crisp. Adam Kennedy snared a
one-hopper from Barton at first and kept Crisp from advancing home.
Fister then forced David DeJesus to pop up to third base and
Willingham flew out to end the threat.

Crisp then flashed his glove. In the sixth inning, Miguel Olivo
led off with a drive to center that Crisp tracked down and caught
running full speed before slamming into the wall with his left
shoulder. Crisp seemed to favor it briefly before shaking it off
and staying in.

”I know he’s going to be sore. He’s going to feel that wall,”
Geren said. ”He stayed in the game and kept playing, just both
sides of the ball, on the bases, he did everything. He’s an
exciting player to manage, to watch. … Big spark. When he has a
day like that, it can really carry the team.”

Notes: Fister allowed just four hits and one run over six
innings for Seattle. … After the game, Seattle optioned OF Carlos
Peguero and RHP Josh Lueke to Triple-A Tacoma. The team activated
1B Justin Smoak off the bereavement list and recalled RHP Dan
Cortes. Both Smoak and Cortes will be with the team Tuesday in
Detroit. … Crisp recorded his third triple of the season, tied
for most in the majors with Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez. All three
of Crisp’s 3-hit games this year have come against Seattle. …
Suzuki was the team’s designated hitter for the first time this
season, getting the day off in the field.