SEATTLE — Coco Crisp’s neck injury last season forced him to change his batting stance — the A’s outfielder couldn’t turn his head far enough to keep his old one.
This year, his neck is back to normal, and so is his stance.
Crisp hit a two-out homer in the 10th inning to help Oakland overcome a dominant outing from Seattle ace Felix Hernandez and beat the Mariners 2-1 Sunday to sweep the three-game series.
“You try to switch things up, especially later in your career I guess, when you’re so accustomed to hitting a certain way, it makes it tough,” Crisp said. “Obviously you’ve found success with the way you’re hitting, that’s why you’ve been here for a while. When you have to switch it up, you don’t really know how to hit that way. You’re trying to figure it out, trying to learn, but for me it just wasn’t working.”
Crisp’s no-doubter to right field came on an elevated 3-1 pitch from Nick Vincent (1-1).
Hernandez struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks. He has allowed one run or fewer 90 times since 2009, the most in baseball. He has 26 no decisions in those games, and the Mariners have lost 19 of them.
With Hernandez gone, Marcus Semien homered off Joel Peralta to lead off the eighth and tie it 1-1.
“Felix comes out of the game and you almost feel like there’s momentum that’s in your dugout just by the fact that he’s out of the game,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
John Axford (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth and Sean Doolittle struck out two in the 10th to earn his first save.
Chris Bassitt allowed one unearned run in seven innings for Oakland. The right-hander allowed three hits, struck out four and walked five.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Nelson Cruz doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundball. Jed Lowrie misplayed a grounder by Ketel Marte and Cruz scored.
A’s reliever Ryan Madson has not allowed a run for 16 consecutive games, a streak that spans 15 innings and started last season.
The A’s return home to face the Angels today when ace Sonny Gray gets his second start of the season.