Suzuki’s double lifts A’s beat Mariners, 6-5
OAKLAND – Kurt Suzuki hit an RBI double with one out in the ninth inning to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
Suzuki’s seventh career walkoff hit provided a happy ending to a night that began with the return of Justin Duchscherer to the mound. Duchscherer missed all of last season while recovering from elbow surgery and dealing with a bout of clinical depression. He pitched into the sixth in his first appearance in nearly 20 months and ended up with a no-decision.
With Kevin Kouzmanoff running from first with one out in the ninth, Suzuki hit a drive to the wall in left field off Mark Lowe (0-1). Milton Bradley reached up to try to make the catch, but the ball appeared to hit off his glove and Kouzmanoff raced around to score.
Jerry Blevins (1-0) got the final out of the ninth to earn the win for Oakland.
Bradley earlier hit a two-run homer for his first hit with the Mariners and Jose Lopez added three hits and a scored a run.
Tyson Ross had a memorable major league debut for Oakland, pitching 2 1-3 scoreless innings and striking out Ken Griffey Jr. Ross was helped by a diving stop by Kouzmanoff at third base that robbed Franklin Gutierrez of an extra-base hit to end the eighth inning.
Rajai Davis homered and scored two runs and Kurt Suzuki hit an RBI double off Brandon League to tie the game at 5 for Oakland with two outs in the seventh. That took Duchscherer off the hook for the loss.
After giving up Bradley’s homer in the first inning, Duchscherer retired nine straight batters starting in the second and took a 3-2 lead into the fifth after an error by right fielder Ichiro Suzuki allowed a run to score in the fourth.
Gutierrez started a rally for Seattle when he singled and advanced to second on one of Duchscherer’s two wild pitches in the game. Jack Wilson tied the game with a one-out single and later scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Chone Figgins.
After the A’s tied the game in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Daric Barton, the Mariners took the lead for good in the sixth when Lopez singled with two outs, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Gutierrez’s single to center on Duchscherer’s 101st pitch of the night.
Duchscherer allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings in his first major league appearance since leaving a game in Minnesota on Aug. 18, 2008, with an injured hip. The two-time All-Star then had elbow surgery last March before his depression ended any chance at a comeback last season.
NOTES: Ichiro Suzuki singled in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak against Oakland to 23 games. … In a scoring change from Tuesday’s game, Ryan Sweeney was credited with a hit in the first inning instead of an error on Seattle 3B Jose Lopez. … Seattle LHP Cliff Lee threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since straining his abdominal muscle. Lee threw eight pitches from flat ground and eight off the mound. Manager Don Wakamatsu said says Lee will throw 25 pitches off the rubber on Friday. … Athletics reliever Michael Wuertz (right shoulder tendinitis) threw off a mound before the game and could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment sometime next week.
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