PHILADELPHIA — After opening the season with back-to-back losses to a revamped Phillies team, the Oakland A’s secured their first win of the year Sunday behind a standout pitching performance from a staff that entered the year with significant question marks.
Starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies turned in an efficient effort and the A’s offense came to life in the late innings to key a 4-1 victory that helped Oakland avoid a sweep in the three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Jefferies tossed five scoreless innings of two-hit ball before the Oakland bullpen took over and continued to hold off Philadelphia’s high-powered offense. The A’s were held scoreless through five innings, but first baseman Seth Brown delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth before left fielder Billy McKinney launched a solo homer in the seventh.
Second baseman Tony Kemp, who finished the day with three hits, provided an additional lift in the ninth with a two-run single to give Oakland a 4-0 lead.
The 26-year-old Jefferies was efficient in his first outing, throwing only 48 pitches on the day. The A’s defense made play after play behind him, beginning in the first inning with two difficult catches from catcher Austin Allen and Kemp at second.
The right-hander surrendered just two singles and struck out two while A’s fielders kept the Phillies from reaching base. Jefferies pitched into the sixth inning, but was removed in favor of left-hander Sam Moll after walking the leadoff batter.
After Phillies starter Zach Eflin shut Oakland out for four innings, the A’s took their first lead of the season in the sixth inning as Brown hit an RBI single off long reliever Bailey Falter to knock in Elvis Andrus. McKinney added a solo home run against the left-hander to lead off the seventh.
The A’s threatened Eflin in the third inning by loading the bases, but the right-hander escaped trouble with the help of live-drive double play off the bat of Andrus. Oakland finally broke through against Falter, scoring just enough to lift the team to victory.
With Moll completing the sixth for Oakland, Domingo Acevedo and Kirby Snead came out of the bullpen to handle the seventh and eighth innings. Right-hander Lou Trivino finished off the game for Oakland, but not before surrendering a leadoff solo homer to Jean Segura in the bottom of the ninth.
The A’s improved to 1-2 on the season, getting the first win out of the way before traveling to Tampa Bay for a four-game series at Tropicana Field starting Monday at 3:40 p.m.
Source: Culled From Paradise Post.