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Brett Anderson Becomes Escape Artist: Oakland A's Win 6-1

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IMay 26, 2009

MESA, AZ - MARCH 03:  Brett Anderson #67 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the spring training game at HoHoKam Park on March 3, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona. The Cubs defeated the A's 6-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brett Anderson came into today's game against the Seattle Mariners coming off an impressive outing against the Tampa Bay Rays and he was able to keep his  impressiveness going as well.

The only blemish in today's game was the homerun he gave up to Kenji Johjima on a fastball that was left out over the plate.

It wasn't too say that the Mariners didn't have their chances against the A's 21 year old lefthander.

Ichiro leadoff the game with an infield single, but the Mariners weren't able to capitalize. Yuniesky Betancourt attempted a bunt single that turned into a sacrifice on a great play at third base by Jack Hannahan who made a solid bare hand pickup and a throw that barely beat Betancourt to first base.

With Ichiro on second Anderson was able to get Adrian Beltre to strike out swinging. Anderson then walked Ken Griffey Jr, but was able to get Mike Sweeney to pop a fly ball into right field where Travis Buck made the easy running catch.

At that point it seemed like Anderson was going to have a rough day and wasn't going to last very long. He threw a lot of pitches in the first inning, but he was able to settle down.

Even though in the second inning Anderson gave up the homerun as mentioned to Johjima. The three outs were rather easy he struck out two of the three batters and got one on an easy ground out.

In the third inning though Ichiro again reached on an infield single. Betancourt wasn't sacrificing this time and hit an easy fly ball to Ryan Sweeney in centerfield, but then it got a little scary for A's fans because Anderson walked Beltre.

So, the Mariners were in business with one out and had runners at first and second. Anderson left a pitch that was hittable to Griffey JR, but luckily for the A's Sweeney made an excellent play in centerfield to track down the hard hit line drive by Griffey Jr.

Ichiro who was not able to tag up on the ball hit by Griffey JR stole third because the A's didn't hold Ichiro and weren't too concerned with him stealing third. Sweeney again popped out Adam Kennedy who made a superb running and sliding catch on the popup to keep the Mariners with only one run.

The fourth inning Anderson cruised through it and the Mariners were retired in order, but in the fifth inning, Anderson again had to escape out of a jam.

Franklin Gutierrez lead off the inning with a solid single. Ichiro again hit the ball to Jason Giambi who tried to get the lead runner out, but was not able to get the ball out of his glove and instead of having one out and Ichiro at first the Mariners had runners at first and second.

Betancourt again with an opportunity too do some damage wasn't able to do so and flew out to Buck in right field. Beltre on the other hand gave the A's fans a scare when he got a ball too hit and he didn't miss.

Luckily, for the A's Buck made a tremendous play by the wall in right field because the ball was hit solidly on a line, but Buck was able to make a terrific leaping catch to rob Beltre of a two run double. Gutierrez on the play was able to tag up and get to third.

Griffey Jr was up again and Anderson was able to make a fine play on a grounder right back to him and he was able to get out of the inning without giving up any runs.

Even in the last inning Anderson had to work out of a little jam. He gave up a leadoff double to Mike Sweeney. Yet, Anderson again settled down and got Jose Lopez to fly out to short left field.

Rob Johnson who replaced Johjima in the lineup after leaving the game with an injured toe due to the slide by Kennedy grounded out to Hannahan for the second out of the inning and Sweeney was able to make his way to third.

Endy Chavez was up and hit a relatively slow grounder to shortstop Bobby Crosby who had to make sure he got rid of the ball quickly with Chavez's speed and was able to get Chavez for the final out of the inning.

Even Kevin Cameron the reliever who took over in the seventh inning had to get out of a little jam. He allowed singles to Guttierez and Ichiro, but was able to get Betancourt to ground the ball to Hannahan who threw to second and then Kennedy at second threw to first where Giambi was for the double play.

Cameron then got Beltre to end the inning on another ground out to end the threat. After that Cameron settled down and recorded the next six outs easily including two pop outs to Crosby who went to first base for defensive purposes and Cameron also recorded two strikeouts in the ninth, his last one ended the game.

The A's pitcher did a great job when the Mariners had runners in scoring position. The Mariners finished the game 0-12 with runners in scoring position. That's outstanding pitching by the A's.

Offensively the A's got all they needed from the bottom of their order. Travis Buck contributed with three runs scored and also hit a homerun, Jack Hannahan contributed finally with a two run double, and Adam Kennedy continues to be impressive going 4-4 with two rbis and a run scored.

There was a goofy play by Giambi though. In his at bat against Brandon Morrow he though he had walked when in reality it was ball three and with Matt Holliday at first base he ran to second but was tagged out.

So, Giambi had to go back for another pitch which was a ball and he got to first base, but instead of having runners and first and second with one out. It was just Giambi on with two outs.

Also, in the bottom of the first innning hitting coach Jim Skaalen was ejected by homeplate umpire Brian Knight, even though Knight was the one who was dead wrong.

Knight created the mess by not doing his job properly and it's ashame because the A's would have been in business too. Adam Kennedy had lead off the game with a walk and Suzuki should have had a walk meaning the A's had runners on first and second with no outs.

The controversy stems from the fact that Knight called a check swing on Suzuki even though the Mariners themselves didn't even ask for an appeal because it was worthless to do so. It's really saying something when a homeplate umpire takes a call like that into their hands. The Mariners knew that Suzuki didn't swing, the only person who did not was Knight.

So, here's where the situation became tricky because no one in the stadium knew what was happening. Kennedy on the pitch was running and slid in safely into second base for the steal, but because of Knight not knowing what he was calling was in the process of calling a double play on the play.

Yet, he was overruled by the other member of the umpire crew. The call then became a strikeout of Suzuki and Kennedy got a stolen base out of it.

The A's did manage to score a run because Kennedy was then able to steal third base and Jack Cust hit a sold grounder to Lopez who wasn't able to field it cleanly and by the time he was able to throw home to get Kennedy, Lopez had bounced the throw in the dirt and Kennedy slid in safely.

All in all though it was a good day for the A's. Back to back victories now it's time for the A's to get their first three game winning streak of the season. The A's are just two games back of the Mariners and eight games back of the Rangers who got pounded today 11-1 by the Yankees.

The only disappointing part for the A's though was the lack of production for the meat of the lineup Cust, Holliday, and Giambi combined to go 0-9 with three walks and two strikeouts.

If that was combined with Kurt Suzuki and Ryan Sweeney then it'd be 0-17 with four walks and four strikeouts. So, it wasn't a good day for the A's hitters from 2-6. Luckily the A's 7-9 hitters in Buck, Crosby, and Hannahan went 4-10 with two rbis, two walks, and five runs.  

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