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A's on full display today in 6-3 win over Mariners at Coliseum

Jim Johnson walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, but he recovered to strike out the final two batters on Sunday for his first Oakland save.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Today's 6-3 victory for the Oakland Athletics over the Seattle Mariners was quite close to the blueprint the organization would like to follow for the 2014 season:

  1. Strong starting pitching: Sonny Gray made his second quality start of the young season, allowing one earned run in six innings. The young righty threw 57 strikes in 98 pitches, keeping his cool despite an error by first baseman Daric Barton that led to two unearned runs;
  2. Timely hitting: A day after going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Felix Hernandez, the A's got two big hits in such situations today, enabling them to overcome a three-run deficit created by aforementioned defensive lapse;
  3. Power: Oakland hit two home runs today, including Brandon Moss' three-run jack that tied the game in the fifth inning and Yoenis Cespedes' solo shot in the eighth that gave the bullpen a little more breathing room;
  4. Shutdown bullpen: Luke Gregerson, Sean Doolittle and Jim Johnson allowed three baserunners in three innings after Gray did his job. They also combined for three strikeouts, including the final two outs of the game by Johnson as he earned his first save in an A's uniform.

Other than Barton's miscue -- and Gray himself would probably admit he needed to bear down a little bit more in future situations of that nature -- the Oakland brass got exactly what they want and need from the team today, as the A's earned their first series victory of the season.

(Oakland took two of three against Seattle, after dropping Saturday's 3-1 decision to King Felix -- even though the A's did get the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.)

It was an odd week, with the Tuesday rainout, the Friday night "infield out" and all the rotation juggling required by said oddities. To "escape" with a 3-3 record has to feel good for the Oakland organization as they head to Minnesota where a nine-game road trip begins Monday.

What the A's don't have yet in 2014 is a winning streak: they've alternated losses and wins since Opening Night, and if they want to get ahead in the standings, winning streaks help out a lot. Few teams have a shot at October going 81-81.

But there's time for that: for now, Oakland survived their tumultuous first week mostly intact, and with some injured players returning soon (reliever Ryan Cook and outfielder Craig Gentry), the A's will be ready for the nine games against the Twins, the Mariners and the Angels before they return to on April 18.

Strangely, after tomorrow's game, the A's have Tuesday off -- but the final eight games of the road trip are consecutive playing days, and this is where the Oakland organizational depth will pay off. If the A's can win five or six on this road trip, they'll be in good shape.

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