Baseball / Sports

Athletics beat Marlins 9-5 despite blowing 4-run lead

MIAMI -- The Oakland Athletics still haven't lost a game this year in which they've led by four runs.

Oakland came perilously close to doing just that Friday before pulling out a 9-5 win over the Miami Marlins, a game in which the score doesn't come close to the reality.

In the end, Oakland scored a tying run in the eighth on Josh Reddick's triple, then pouring on the offense with a four-run ninth in which the A's needed the help of an overturned call at the plate to get things started.

A game that seemed to be another in a long line of relatively easy wins for the A's derailed in the sixth inning with Miami scoring five times to more than erase a 4-0 deficit.

The A's were able to answer back in the eighth with a little help from the Marlins. Stephen Vogt singled with two out and Josh Reddick drove a hard sinking liner to left. Rather than play it safe, Marlins' left fielder Marcell Ozuna went for the brilliant diving catch.

He came close, but the ball eluded him. He was still on the ground as the ball rolled toward center, allowing Vogt to race around to score and Reddick to get his fourth triple of the year.

The A's opened the ninth with consecutive hits from Coco Crisp, Alberto Callaspo and Yoenis Cespedes, but Crisp was called out at the plate on a strong throw from right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. A's manager Bob Melvin challenged the call, and replays showed that Crisp got his foot in before he was tagged.

With the lead now theirs, the A's started piling on en route to a 49-30 record, the best in the majors. Josh Donaldson had a sacrifice fly, Vogt singled home a third run and Reddick a fourth.

Starter Jesse Chavez had struggled some with his pitch count, but the only time the Marlins came close to scoring was in the third when Cespedes made another of those majestic off-balance throws from the outfield to cut down Stanton, who'd been trying to score from second on a triple.

Before the sixth started, Chavez had put just six men on base, and only two of those were hits. He'd hit a batter and walked three, two of those in the third.

Meanwhile the A's had scored two runs early, then added on and were sitting with a 4-0 lead. And the stats showed that the A's were 38-10 when scoring four runs or more.

The Marlins didn't look at the stats sheet, evidently. Stanton and Casey McGehee opened the sixth with singles that put men on the corners for Garrett Jones, whose single got the first Miami run home.

When Ozuna, who'd struck out in his first two at-bats, singled to make it 4-2, Melvin had Dan Otero take over for Chavez. The Miami native, pitching in front of a large group of family and friends, didn't have things go his way. Donovan Solano dropped a double on the right field line to get one run in, then a grounder tied it.

Pinch-hitter Jeff Baker stepped in with a single to center and all of a sudden the A's were facing a 5-4 deficit.

The A's beat up on Miami starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani right away, scoring twice in the first. Callaspo, Cespedes and Brandon Moss all singled to load the bases before Donaldson's grounder and a single from Jed Lowrie made it 2-0.

Injury problems forced DeSclafani out of the game after three innings, and Oakland jumped on his replacement, lefty Brian Flynn for single runs in the fourth and fifth. Crisp beat out a possible double play grounder with the bases loaded to get the fourth-inning run home, then Donaldson tripled off the curve of the wall in center allowing Cespedes to score from first.

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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