Mariners Game Recap: Nelson Cruz Lifts M’s to Victory in Series Finale

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Apr 12, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners infielder

Robinson Cano

(22) reacts after outfielder

Nelson Cruz

(23) hit a home run against the Oakland Athletics in the tenth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

8. 62. Final. 7. 96

After a slow start offensively to start the season, the Seattle Mariners exploded for 8 runs in Sunday’s win against the Oakland A’s. It may not have gone the way he planned, but Fernando Rodney (1-0, 12.00 ERA) was credited with the win after blowing a 4 run lead in the bottom of the 9th. Tyler Clippard (0-1, 3.00 ERA) was saddled with the loss after allowing the go ahead run in the 10th. Yoervis Medina hurled a perfect inning to record his first save of the season.

Felix Hernandez looked uncomfortable all day, and Oakland broke through in the bottom of inning number 4. Billy Butler had a great game today, and he led off the frame with a double. Ike Davis plated Butler on a single to center field that was booted by Austin Jackson. Stephen Vogt followed the single by lacing a ground ball past a diving Logan Morrison that rolled all the way to the right field corner. Vogt ended up on third base, and Davis scored on the triple. Josh Reddick was activated from the disabled list on Sunday, and he contributed an RBI single in his first action of the season. The A’s held a 3-0 lead after 4 innings.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn had a no-hitter entering the top of the 6th inning this afternoon, but things went south for the young right-hander quickly. Dustin Ackley led the inning off by doubling on a ball that careened off the wall out in right-center field. Mike Zunino singled on a line drive to right field to put runners on the corners with none out. Brad Miller scored Ackley on a sacrifice fly to center field to shrink the A’s lead to 2 runs.

The Mariners were not finished there in the 6th. Austin Jackson walked, and Zunino and AJ advanced to second and third base following a Seth Smith fielder’s choice. Robinson Cano ripped a line drive to right fielder Josh Reddick. The ball was stung, and Cano’s liner handcuffed Reddick. Zunino and AJ hustled home to tie the game. Nelson Cruz walked, and Kyle Seager gave the M’s their first lead of the game by singling to center field. Cano came around to score, and Seattle jumped in front 4-3.

The M’s added to their lead in the top of the 7th. Dustin Ackley contributed his second hit of the day with a single to right field. Mike Zunino tallied his second hit of the contest by lining an Eric O’Flaherty offering to left field. Austin Jackson grounded out to first base, but Ackley and Zunino advanced to second and third with 2 outs. Ricky Weeks was called on to pitch hit, and Lloyd McClendon’s decision proved to be the right one. Weeks crushed a 91 mph sinker over the wall in center field for a 3-run dinger. Weeks’ blast gave Seattle a commanding 7-3 lead.

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Despite it not being a save situation, McClendon brought in closer Fernando Rodney to work the 9th inning with a 4-run lead. One would think having a 4-run lead in the bottom of the 9th would be enough, but no lead is safe when Rodney is pitching. Josh Reddick got the inning started by smoking a line drive into the right-center field gap for a double. Marcus Semien worked a walk, and Sam Fuld brought both runners around to score on a double to right field. Rookie phenom Mark Canha singled, and Ben Zobrist walked to load the bases with none out. Rodney induced a double play ball from Billy Butler, but Fuld trotted home to score. With the A’s trailing by just 1 run, Eric Sogard was called on to pitch hit with the game on the line. Sogard came through, singling to center field and tying the game at 7. Against all odds, the rubber match between the A’s and Mariners went to extra innings.

Nelson Cruz had a key 3-run home run in yesterday’s win, and he went yard again today. Cruz stepped into the batters with no one on base and 2 outs in the top of the 10th inning. The 2014 MLB Home Run King hit a fly ball down the left field line that just had enough gas to make it over the wall. Cruz’s big fly gave the M’s an 8-7 lead, and proved to be the winning run on Sunday.

With the win, Seattle took the series with the A’s 2-1. It was the first series win of the season for the Mariners, and hopefully it will give them some confidence as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. Click here for the full box score.

Next: King Felix Leaves Game Due to Quad Tightness

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