Baseball / Sports

Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated at the plate by Josh Reddick (16) after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning of their game against the Seattle Mariners at Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The Athletics defeated the Mariners, 2-0, during Game 2 of a doubleheader. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Athletics prevent Mariners' sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Drew Pomeranz and Dan Otero provided shots in the arm, and Jim Johnson delivered his best performance with the Athletics as they salvaged a split in Wednesday's doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners.

The Athletics lost the first game, 6-4, in 10 innings despite knocking around Seattle ace Felix Hernandez. But Pomeranz, Otero and Johnson combined on a shutout in a 2-0 victory in the second game.

The victory prevented the Mariners from sweeping the four-game series and snapped the Athletics' six-game home losing streak.

"It was a long day," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "After losing the first one in the fashion we did -- you don't often get to Felix, especially us, and then we end up giving it up -- it's pretty demoralizing.

"You have to go out there for a second game. This team's been resilient all year. We didn't score a whole lot but just enough and three guys took over on the pitching end for us and came up huge."

Pomeranz gave up two hits over five scoreless innings in his first start of the season. Otero, who allowed two inherited runners to score in the 10th inning of the Game1 loss, pitched three innings of one-hit ball in the second game and Johnson earned his first save since April6 with a perfect ninth.

The victory allows the Athletics to take a deep breath and good vibes into Thursday's off day after an exhausting stretch. Oakland flew cross-country from Boston on Sunday after completing a 10-game road trip and went straight into a stretch of four games in three days, thanks to the doubleheader.

Seattle could have pulled into a virtual tie for first place and moved percentage points ahead of the A's with a sweep, so Oakland knew how important it was to get the Game2 win.

"On off days or travel days, any time you can win it's better for the mentality," Otero said. "Four-game sweeps are not good, especially at home. We all kind of knew that. There was a sense of urgency."

Otero allowed back-to-back RBI singles after entering in the top of the 10th with the first game tied 4-4. The first single was of the infield variety when a high hopper bounced out of the glove of first baseman Daric Barton and was ruled a hit. Kyle Seager followed with a clean single to make it 6-4.

That spoiled the A's effort against Hernandez, their longtime nemesis they roughed up for 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings. They scored three runs in the seventh to chase him from the game and take a 4-3 lead before Seattle tied it in the eighth.

Otero entered in the 10th after Ryan Cook walked two -- one intentionally -- but left after straining his right forearm while striking out Corey Hart.

"It's not as bad as you guys think it is, I can tell you that," Cook said of the injury.

Cook said he felt tightness on his final two pitches to Hart, and the slider he threw to strike him out left him in too much pain to continue. He'll get an MRI on Thursday but is optimistic.

"Everything that goes on with Tommy John and all that stuff seems to be good," Cook said. "No pain in those areas. Seems to be strictly in my forearm. So as of right now, I think I, and I can confidently say we, are really optimistic."

-- Melvin said Coco Crisp will probably need a couple days off after suffering a neck strain when he collided with the wall after making a terrific catch to end the fourth inning of the first game. His back hit the wall after making the grab, and he spent a couple minutes on the ground before walking off the field under his own power.

-- Eric O'Flaherty is slated to throw to batters on Saturday as he continues his rehabilitation from Tommy John-style elbow ligament surgery, which was performed May21, 2013. Melvin said he's not sure when O'Flaherty will begin a minor league rehab assignment.

"I think a lot of it will have to do with how he feels the first couple of times out," Melvin said.

(c)2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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