By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
OAKLAND, Calif. — A lot of the feel-good that surfaced from their three victories in Anaheim slipped away Thursday from the Mariners when they let a late slip away in a 3-2 loss to Oakland in 12 innings.
And there was more than one common denominator: Sure, start with the walks. But the Mariners’ attack also flat-lined — just six hits— after scoring 26 runs in their sweep over the Angels.
The end came when Hector Noesi served up a walk-off homer to Coco Crisp to start the 12th inning. It was Crisp’s sixth career walk-off RBI but his first walk-off homer.
The homer survived a review that it cleared the right-field wall.
Drew Pomeranz, 1-0, got the victory after working a scoreless 12th inning. Noesi, 0-1, was the seventh pitcher used by manager Lloyd McClendon.
There was more than one common denominator in the loss: Start with a bushel of costly walks. But the Mariners’ attack also flat-lined — just six hits— after scoring 26 runs in their sweep over the Angels.
The Mariners dodged a bullet in the 10th inning after Crisp worked back from a 1-2 hole for leadoff walk against Danny Farquhar. After Josh Donaldson struck out, on a borderline pitch, Farquhar walked Josh Reddick.
Farquhar retired Yoenis Cespedes, who tied the game in the eighth with a two-out RBI triple, on a fly to left. Joe Beimel replaced Farquhar and got the game to the 11th when John Jaso flied to right.
Walks bit the Mariners’ relief corps in the eighth inning, too.
Charlie Furbush carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth but he, too, issued a leadoff walk to Crisp. That brought Tom Wilhelmsen into the game to face the meat the A’s order.
Crisp stole second before Wilhelmsen completed a four-pitch to Josh Donaldson.
Even so, Wilhelmsen had a chance to escape when Reddick grounded into a double play, but Cespedes tied the game by ripping a triple into the right-center gap.
Before all that, Mariners rookie Abraham Almonte was in the middle of everything.
Almonte scored the first run after forcing A’s second baseman Nick Punto into a first-inning throwing error. His RBI single in the fifth extended the Mariners’ lead to 2-0.
But Almonte’s base-running error torpedoed the chance for a bigger fifth inning, and his decision to attempt a diving two-out catch later in the inning nearly proved disastrous.
One run scored on the play, and only a well-executed relay by right fielder Logan Morrison and second baseman Robinson Cano to catcher Mike Zunino prevented Sam Fuld from circling the bases.
Even then, the play at the plate required video confirmation for a possible violation of the collision rule at the plate.
That play marked last pitch by rookie lefty Roenis Elias, who handed that 2-1 lead to Yoervis Medina to start the sixth. Oakland starter Jesse Chavez pitched through the sixth; he have up just one earned run.
Medina breezed through the sixth but issued successive one-out walks in the seventh, which brought Furbush into the game for a left-on-left matchup against Reddick.
Furbush retired Reddick on a fly to right before Punto’s infield single loaded the bases. But Furbish stranded all three runners by striking out Fuld.
The game started with a double gift from the A’s.
Almonte’s routine leadoff grounder to first scooted through Alberto Callaspo for an error. Punto chased down the ball and threw behind the runner — and threw wildly.
Almonte wound up at second. He moved to third on Brad Miller’s fly to deep center and scored on Cano’s grounder to second for a 1-0 lead.
Elias began his big-league career by walking Crisp and running a full count on Donaldson. With Crisp running, Donaldson sent a soft liner to third, which resulted in a double play.
After Jed Lowrie walked, on a full count, Elias went to 3-2 on Yeonis Cespedes before getting a called third strike.
The Mariners got their first hit on Zunino’s one-out double in the third into the left-field corner, but Chavez retired the next two hitters.
It stayed 1-0 until the fifth when Morrison led off with a single for his first hit as a Mariner.
Dustin Ackley’s single moved Morrison to third. After Zunino flied to short right, Almonte ripped a grounder back through the middle for an RBI single.
When Crisp tried for Ackley at third, Almonte took second…and then the Mariners ran themselves out of the chance for a bigger inning. Almonte broke for third on Miller’s grounder to second — but Ackley held third.
Elias didn’t allow a hit until Punto’s two-out single in the fifth, which came after Elias failed to get a call on a borderline 2-2 pitch from umpire Sean Barber. (Zunino was even moving toward the dugout after the pitch.)
Fuld followed with a sinking liner to center that eluded a diving Almonte. Punto scored easily, and Fuld tried to circle the bases as Morrison ran down the ball.
Cano took the throw from Morrison and made a strong throw to the plate, where Zunino applied the tag. Barber initially called Fuld out, but Oakland manager Bob Melvin asked for a check on a possible collision-rule violation.
The umpires complied but confirmed the call; even so, the Mariners’ lead was down to 2-1.