Crisp homers, has three RBI in A’s win
OAKLAND – Coco Crisp spent time with Rickey Henderson during spring training. It’s paid dividends both as a power source and taking the extra base at any opportunity.
Crisp homered and drove in three runs, including the go-ahead score in the sixth inning, to help the Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Wednesday night. He also stole his 16th consecutive base, putting him in Henderson’s company.
“Any time you can take advice from someone so prominent in the game … heck, he’s the best, who want to incorporate it,” Crisp said of the Hall of Famer. “He’s a big part of this team, helping us become better baserunners.”
The A’s made baserunning the top priority this season and it’s shown. They are 50-24 when stealing a base.
“When you don’t have the home run hitters you have to try and score any way you can,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We have a few fast runners and when the opportunity arises you want them to be aggressive.”
Cliff Pennington drove in a run and stole a base for the A’s, who won for the fourth time in six games.
Gio Gonzalez (14-8) matched his career-high fourth straight victory after allowing three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out nine.
“The other four starters are strong believers in composure and settling down,” said Gonzalez, who has worked on subduing his excitable personality while on the mound. “When you see them working so hard at it, it helps you. Guys were coming up to me to remind me to keep grinding.”
Russell Branyan hit a two-run homer and Matt Tuiasosopo hit a solo shot for the Mariners, who fell to 6-12 since a three-game winning streak Aug. 17-20.
Luke French (4-5) lasted 5 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. He walked two and struck out three.
“It was a little tough,” French said. “I struggled a little bit and that was really the story. It was everything; tempo. I felt like I was getting too quick and then a little too slow.”
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games, the fourth time this season he has reached double figures. He moved into 168th place on the all-time hits list with 2,213. He needs one more to tie Joe DiMaggio for 167th.
“I keep talking about a big hit that kind of puts the ballgame away,” Mariners manager Daren Brown said. “We didn’t get it. Those things come back to bite you, man.”
Mark Ellis doubled twice and Rajai Davis had three hits and stole his 43rd base as the A’s beat the Mariners for the ninth time in 11 games at home.
Craig Breslow got four outs and Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his 22nd save. They combined to retire the final seven Mariners.
Seattle scored all three of its runs in the first two innings. Chone Figgins, who had two hits, singled ahead of Branyan’s home run in the first. Tuiasosopo hit a one-out homer in the second.
Gonzalez retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced to give the A’s a chance to rally.
Steve Tolleson singled ahead of Crisp’s home run in the third.
“I need to make better pitches to him,” French said. “He’s tough on me.”
The A’s had two runners on in the sixth when French was replaced by Jamey Wright, who gave up Pennington’s RBI groundout and Crisp’s RBI single.
NOTES: The A’s stole four bases in the sixth inning, matching their game-high. … Suzuki has a hit in 19 of his last 20 games in Oakland. … The Mariners matched their season-high five consecutive games with a home run. … Crisp has been successful on his last 16 steal attempts, the longest streak for an A’s player since Rickey Henderson swiped 17 straight between May 9-June 11, 1998. … Ellis has a season-high nine-game hitting streak.
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