I started writing this recap in the eighth inning. Yoenis Cespedes hammered his first home run of the spring on a line drive off of Yoervis Medina. The A's led the Mariners through a no-hitter for the first four innings and had cemented a three-run lead after seven. With the final nail in the coffin, I figured that this game was pretty much over. I started pasting photos of Derek Norris into the recap and was seconds away from filling out the headline: "Mariners take another punch to the gut, lose to the A's 4-2". But then I had that niggling thought at the back of my mind, the one that pesters me in even the most dire situations: What if they come back? I closed my laptop and tried not to jinx the team any further.
Here's what you don't need to know about this game:
- Oakland starter Josh Lindblom carried a no-hitter through four innings, restricting the Mariners to a walk and two strikeouts.
- Dustin Ackley went 1-for-3 with a home run off of Lindblom his second homer of the spring and 17th hit in 19 games. In the words of the M's broadcast booth: "Ackley is hotter than the Arizona sun."
- Logan Morrison, who looked a little lost out in right field, also had a productive day at the plate. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a base hit, breaking Lindblom's spell over the Mariners with the team's first hit of the game.
- In the 9th, A's right-hander Evan Scribner gave up four consecutive hits in his bid for a loss. Tyler Smith and Justin Smoak lined singles off of the 28-year-old, driven in by Kyle Seager's double and a moonshot from the bat of Stefen Romero. I don't know how to make sense of these comebacks anymore.
Here's what you do need to know about this game:
- Randy Wolf looked convincing in his fifth start, staying scoreless through three innings before running into some trouble against Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes. The Mariners' southpaw could not find outs with his change-up, instead giving up two walks and two home runs with the pitch. Bernie Pleskoff noted that the Triple-A home plate umpire, Pat Hoberg, was not doing him any favors on his off-speed pitches. Wolf finished his outing with 85 pitches and 54 strikes, giving up two walks, two home runs, and striking out one batter over six innings. Lloyd McClendon seemed satisfied with the veteran's performance, telling the Seattle Times, "He was a little more crisp, but he made questionable pitches that you just can't make. But he pitched better." Despite his location problems, Wolf has all but locked down a rotation spot, and figures to be in the mix with Roenis Elias after Scott Baker's disastrous outing yesterday.
- Nick Franklin received two innings of work this afternoon, though he neither fielded nor hit any balls after subbing in for Brad Miller. Miller also went scoreless against Oakland's staff, abandoning his hot streak and striking out twice in three at-bats.
- Lucas Luetge was sharp in his closing stint today, striking out two batters and escaping the ninth without a baserunner. Yoervis Medina and Fernando Rodney both ran into trouble against the A's lineup, peaking with Yoenis Cespedes' monster two-run shot over the left field fence.
Tomorrow afternoon, Blake Beavan will take the mound against fellow right-hander Erik Johnson when the Chicago White Sox come to town. The game will be delayed on 710 ESPN, but you can catch it televised live on CSC.