Sep 1, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jason Hammel (40) high fives towards the dugout after the top of the sighting inning against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Big First Inning by Athletics Backs Hammel's Gem

Sometimes the best medicine after a four-game sweep at the hands of a division rival is an easy win, and the Athletics certainly got that today against the third-place Mariners.

It all started in the bottom of the first. Josh Reddick hit a double off of Chris Young into center with one out to set the table for brand-new-Athletic Adam Dunn‘s first at-bat in the green and gold. Dunn pulled the ball over the wall in right field to give the A’s a quick 2-0 lead with two outs. Brandon Moss walked, Jed Lowrie singled and Stephen Vogt walked to load the bases for another new Athletic in Geovany Soto. Soto hit a single into left field, plating Moss and Lowrie and ending Young’s day. With Lucas Luetge on the mound, Eric Sogard singled to bring in Vogt and the Athletics finished the first inning up 5-0.

Jason Hammel (3.58 ERA, 10-10) took over from there. After a miserable first month with the Athletics, Hammel has now given up one run or less over four of his last five starts. Today he tossed 8-innings of one-run ball, striking out five and only allowing four baserunners. The lone run came on a Brad Miller solo shot in the top of the sixth that was quickly answered when Josh Donaldson doubled Josh Reddick home in the bottom of the same frame. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a perfect ninth and that was the ballgame.

With the Angels off for the day, the Athletics moved within 4.5 games of the AL West lead. Winning against the Mariners is even a bigger deal, since any wild-card play-in game against Seattle will likely feature Felix Hernandez (who will face off against Jon Lester on Wednesday), and that’s a scenario best avoided if at all possible.

Especially after a tough sweep against the Angels and an extremely frustrating month of August, it was great to see the Athletic’s faithful out in some impressive force this afternoon. Just listen to the fans erupt here on Dunn’s towering homer. The announced attendance of 36,067 is an incredible show of support for the team, and just listen to the crowd in that video. A’s fans have to be the loudest in the league, and when we show up in force it’s a sight to behold. Let’s keep it up!

Fun Note: Sam Fuld made both the first out and the last out in the Athletics’ ten-batter first inning. But when you can make plays like this one, we can forgive the occasional 0-5 day.

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Tags: Oakland Athletics

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