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04/13/2014 8:46 PM EDT
Cespedes' late HR lifts Athletics over Mariners
OAKLAND 3, SEATTLE 0

SEATTLE (AP) -- Another well-pitched game for the Oakland
Athletics came with a price.

Scott Kazmir threw six sharp innings before leaving with
tightness in his left triceps, and Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run
homer that broke a scoreless tie in the eighth that lifted the
A's over the Seattle Mariners 3-0 Sunday.

Kazmir called it was "a very, very minor" injury. He said it
won't cause him to miss a start, but the A's have reason to be
cautionary.

This spring the club lost staff ace Jarrod Parker to
season-ending elbow surgery and A.J. Griffin is sidelined for
perhaps the first two months with a strained forearm.

Oakland's staff has an AL-leading 2.17 ERA.

"It's exciting to have guys follow up a quality start, one after
another, one through five. It really is exciting," Kazmir said.
"We just want to keep going out there and keep making quality
pitches and quality outings, all of us."

Kazmir pitched two-hit ball, striking out nine without a walk.

A's manager Melvin said that the first time he noticed Kazmir
was affected by the tightness was at the end of the sixth.
Kazmir had a similar issue during training camp, missing one
start with triceps tightness.

"Everything checked out as far as his strengthening and what he
does after a game," Melvin said. "He wanted to go back out but
you have to be careful with a guy like that."

Mariners star Robinson Cano said Kazmir was exceptionally tough.

"He was making guys chase his slider and throwing the heater at
95," Cano said.

Cespedes pulled a 2-2 slider from Charlie Furbush (0-1) into the
left-field bullpen. Cespedes' second homer of the season came
after Jed Lowrie drew a leadoff walk.

Josh Donaldson added a solo home run in the ninth, his third,
off Lucas Luetge.

Dan Otero (2-0) retired two batters in the seventh. Luke
Gregerson worked the eighth and Sean Doolittle allowed one hit
in the ninth for his first save.

Chris Young made his first start since Sept. 9, 2012, while with
the New York Mets. Troubled by shoulder problems all last
season, he went to spring camp this year with the Nationals, was
released and signed during the last week of training camp by
Seattle.

Young pitched six shutout innings, giving up four hits. He
walked three and struck out two.

Young's other outing for Seattle was a two-inning scoreless
stint in relief.

"I was really, really pleased with his outing," Mariners manager
Lloyd McClendon said. "He got a lot of flyball outs, teased them
up in the zone a bit. I think he is close. I saw his breaking
ball coming today. When that pitch comes for him, he's going to
be pretty tough."

Kazmir didn't allow a runner and struck out six the first time
through the lineup. The Mariners got back-to-back, one-out
singles by Brad Miller and Cano in the fourth, but Kazmir
retired Corey Hart on a grounder and struck out Justin Smoak
with a 78 mph changeup.

The Mariners' only other scoring threat came with two outs in
the sixth when Brad Miller sent right fielder Eric Sogard to the
wall to bring down his flyball.

Cano, who singled in the fourth, has a 14-game hitting streak
against Oakland dating to Sept. 22, 2012.

NOTES: Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon isn't sure about Major
League Baseball's expanded replay format. "I'm really worried
about where we're heading with replays, the effect it's having
on the game, the effect it's having on the fans," McClendon
said. "It's confusing." McClendon is concerned about the
outfield transfer rule, when umpires look to be sure fielders
successfully switch the ball from the glove to their hands. The
Mariners already have had three such plays this season, with
mixed results. "It was made for the play at second, on the
double-play ball," Melvin said. "I don't think anyone thought it
would come into play in the outfield as you're seeing right
now." Both managers have had to talk to their players to be
certain that runners go against their instincts and watch the
umpires, not the play, in order to advance or hold. "I think the
players are struggling more than the managers," McClendon said.
"Initially, I thought I'd be a fan of it. But I'm not so sure
now." ... Mariners top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker
(shoulder) is scheduled to make another rehab start Tuesday in
the minors. Seattle has an open spot in the rotation for that
day, but McClendon said he doesn't know when Walker will be
called up.

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