Yusei Kikuchi's strong start wasted as Mariners fall to Athletics

AP, Kyodo

Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman lined an RBI double to score Tony Kemp in the top of the 10th inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied for a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Oakland snapped a three-game losing streak, escaping a major jam in the bottom of the ninth inning before Grossman came through in the 10th. Hitting for Ryan Murphy, Grossman lined Dan Altavilla’s pitch into the right-center field gap to easily score Kemp.

Liam Hendriks pitched the 10th for his second save of the season in the first extra-inning game for both teams.

“It’s just an adjustment and basically we’re going to adjust to all these things and it doesn’t matter what kind of rules they put out there, the guys are going to adjust and we’re gonna make the best of it,” Grossman said.

Oakland’s Joakim Soria (1-0) escaped a jam in the ninth after Seattle loaded the bases with one out. Soria struck out Jose Marmolejos and Shed Long Jr. to send the game to extra innings, leaving pinch-runner Dee Gordon stranded at third base.

“We had our chances in the ninth. I will say that’s part of what we’re going through this year, giving those guys opportunities in the ninth inning when the game is on the line and learning from it,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

Oakland trailed 2-0 until Chad Pinder’s two-out, two-run home run in the seventh inning off Seattle reliever Nick Margevicius. It was the only jolt of offense for Oakland after being shut down for six innings by Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi.

“We have not gotten big hit, and we were stagnant again up until that point and then all of a sudden we’re in a tie game,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “The difference for us today was we didn’t get a ton of hits but we got big hits when we needed to.”

Relying heavily on his fastball and cutter, Kikuchi allowed only one hit through five innings, on Stephen Piscotty’s infield single that was originally called out but overturned by replay. Kikuchi was also helped by a pair of double plays, including a fantastic turn by Long, J.P. Crawford and Evan White that followed Piscotty’s hit.

Kikuchi found trouble in the sixth after a pair of singles to open the inning. But he quickly recovered by striking out Ryan Murphy and Marcus Semien, the latter throwing a 96 mph (154 kph) fastball past the A’s leadoff hitter. Kikuchi escaped the jam getting a groundout from Matt Chapman to end the inning.

“Overall one of the best outings he’s ever had here. Really impressed by him tonight,” Servais said. “Not just his stuff, and we’ve seen an uptick in his velocity and how he’s using his stuff differently, but the competitiveness tonight really stood out.”

Oakland starter Mike Fiers limited all of Seattle’s damage to one inning. A pair of two-out singles and a walk to Kyle Lewis loaded the bases, and Kyle Seager dropped a two-run single into center field. Seattle’s rally ended as Lewis was thrown out by Ramon Laureano while trying to go from first to third on the play.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

In New York, Gio Urshela hit his first big league grand slam, Aaron Judge homered for a career-high fourth straight game and New York won its fifth straight.

Nick Nelson (1-0) pitched three hitless innings to win his major league debut. At 6-1, the Yankees are off to their best start since 2003.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka made his season debut after recovering from a concussion sustained when he was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive during practice on July 4. Tanaka lasted just 2⅔ innings and 51 pitches, tiring in his second time through the order.

“I was excited to come back to this place again,” Tanaka said. “I didn’t have any problems at all (because of the injury). I focused on the ball’s momentum and throwing high or low rather than on the inside or outside.”

David Hale finished the six-hitter for his third career save, his first this year.

Judge homered in the first inning off Zack Godley (0-1), a 455-foot drive to left-center. Urshela hit his second homer of the season an inning later for a 5-0 lead.

Twins 3, Indians 0

In Minneapolis, Miguel Sano homered twice and Kenta Maeda pitched six scoreless innings in his home debut for Minnesota.

Eddie Rosario added a solo homer for the Twins, who got another strong start from a veteran newcomer to its starting rotation. Maeda (2-0) retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until Bradley Zimmer beat out a weak ground ball to second base in the fifth inning.

“My pitches were good and I was able to control all of them equally well and get strikeouts,” Maeda said. “It’s important to be able to pitch well at home.”

Carlos Carrasco (1-1) gave up six hits in six innings for Cleveland and was done in by three solo home runs from the Twins.

Maeda, acquired in an offseason trade from the Dodgers, was one of three key additions to strengthen Minnesota’s rotation along with Rich Hill and Homer Bailey.

In Other Games

White Sox 11, Royals 5

Angels 5, Astros 4 (10)

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Braves 7, Mets 1

Orioles 5, Rays 4 (11)

Dodgers 11, Diamondbacks 2

Rockies 6, Padres 1

Cubs 4, Pirates 3

Giants 7, Rangers 3

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