SEATTLE – There was no Turn Back The Clock promotion Saturday at Safeco Field, but Coco Crisp provided a retro performance of sorts.
The A’s 36-year-old leadoff man set the tone from the get-go, and Oakland gave its best offensive showing of the young season to support Rich Hill in a 6-1 victory over the Mariners.
Hill struck out 10 in a dominant six-inning effort to notch his first victory as an Athletic. Just as encouraging for manager Bob Melvin had to be the spryness showed by Crisp, who singled twice, scored twice and swiped two bases, including the 300th steal of his career.
The switch hitter is in the final year of his contract, his future uncertain beyond 2016 due in large part to an extensive injury history. He’s currently relegated to a part-time role, but since the start of spring training Melvin has emphasized that Crisp holds an important role on this team.
He drew his second start in six games Saturday, spelling Billy Burns, and he impacted the game immediately. Crisp led off the game with a single against Nathan Karns (0-1), stole second and came around to score on Danny Valencia’s single as part of Oakland’s two-run first.
He reached on another single in the fifth and stole second again before Josh Reddick connected for his second homer in as many nights, giving the A’s a 4-1 lead. It was Crisp’s first multi-steal game since Sept. 6, 2014.
But there were contributions from many sources, as the A’s evened their record at 3-3 and assured a series victory before they face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Sunday.
Jed Lowrie, dropped to sixth in the order on this night, drove in two runs with a pair of singles. Valencia and Stephen Vogt hit back-to-back doubles in the eighth for the A’s final run.
Starting pitching report
After lasting just 2 2/3 innings in his A’s debut on Opening Night, Hill (1-0) mesmerized the Mariners with an outstanding curve ball that they were swinging through all night. He scattered five hits over six innings and finished one strikeout shy of his career high. Seeing him carve through Seattle’s lineup was a welcome sight for the A’s, as Sonny Gray was the only starter to complete as many as six innings in the first trip through the rotation.
Ryan Dull and Marc Rzepczynski brought things to the finish line in relief of Hill. Dull struck out two in handling the seventh and Rzepczynski held the Mariners off the board over the final two innings.
At the plate
The A’s worked Karns for 35 pitches in the first. With two outs, Valencia got the A’s on the board with his ground single through the middle. Then Lowrie made it 2-0 when he capped an eight-pitch battle with a run-scoring single to left-center. Vogt was out at home trying to score a second run on the play, but the A’s had all the runs they would need. Reddick’s two-run homer was a deep blast to right-center, his second home run of the series.
In the field
Shortstop Marcus Semien turned in two highlight-reel plays. He made a diving stop in the fourth and flipped to second from his stomach to start an inning-ending double play. In the ninth, he speared Nori Aoki’s liner with a backhanded effort. Right after that, Jed Lowrie and Rzepczynski combined on an excellent put-out at first.
First baseman Yonder Alonso turned in another terrific effort when he fielded Nori Aoki’s grounder and made a diving attempt to beat him to the bag for the out. Aoki was originally ruled safe, but the play was overturned via replay. That was a reversal from the first inning, when Aoki was called out at first but the play was overturned in the Mariners’ favor.
The announced turnout was 36,424.
Chris Bassitt (0-0, 6.75) draws Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (0-1, 1.50) as the A’s and Mariners close this three-game series Sunday. First pitch is 1:10 p.m.