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.