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Crisp's walk-off HR in 12th gives struggling A's offense a welcome boost

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(OAKLAND) -- The two-time defending American League West champions certainly had a flair for the dramatic in winning two straight division titles in 2012 and 2013.

Maybe 2014 will provide more of the same.

The Oakland Athletics got their first "walk-off" win of the season on Thursday night, as center fielder Coco Crisp homered in the 12th inning to give the A's a 3-2 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners at the O.co Coliseum.

Offense has been scarce for the A's so far in 2014, so the home run was a pleasant jolt for the Oakland bats. Overall, the team is hitting just .222 through four games, and while it's certainly early, a team that finished fourth in the majors last year in runs scored isn't quite back there yet this April -- despite having the same lineup, basically, albeit healthier.

It's often the case, but the A's made a pitcher making his MLB debut last night look too good: Roenis Elias held the Oakland lineup to two hits and one run in five innings, although he did walk three batters. The only hits the A's got off the Mariners rookie came in the final two at-bats of his outing.

Left fielder Sam Fuld delivered a run-scoring triple with two outs in the fifth that scored Nick Punto, although Fuld himself was thrown out at home plate trying to stretch his luck for an inside-the-park home run.

Overall, in 12 innings, the A's got just six hits -- but they did draw ten walks. The team actually had three hits with runners in scoring position on the night, in nine at-bats. However, they could score only two runs in the first nine innings.

These Oakland offenses of the past few successful seasons have been very streaky: when they're on, they're really on. And when they're off, it can get ugly.

"I was just going up there to swing as hard as I could," Crisp told the Associated Press after the game. "Probably nine times out of 10, I ended up with a strikeout with that approach. Tonight was that one time that it ended up working out. I'm not going to have that as my everyday approach, but I'm just grateful that it worked out tonight."

Thus, Crisp's home run was a bit of good fortune for the A's -- to get a win here when they maybe shouldn't have helps equalize the late-inning ills from earlier in the week against Cleveland.

It's a long season, but at least Oakland looks like they may be realizing the season has started.

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