Athletics

Athletics

OAKLAND -- Homer Bailey hadn't taken the mound for 13 days when he was asked to make his A's debut Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum. No problem.

The veteran right-hander shook off some early rust before turning in a strong outing, leading Oakland to a 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

"I was kind of a little rusty early and then I was able to kind of find that tempo where I wanted to be," Bailey explained Wednesday. "The way that this team fights for nine innings is outstanding, so it definitely gives you energy, and you know if you can keep it close, they're going to score runs and play great defense for nine."

Bailey allowed two runs on four hits in the second inning, but after that, he completely shut the Mariners down. The 33-year-old ended up going six innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.

"I thought he did really well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For a guy who hadn't pitched in basically two weeks, to go out there -- I wouldn't say he was rusty -- they got some hits off him early in the game, but then (he) shut it down when (he) needed to. Sometimes there are nerves with a new team and some expectations. ... I thought it was a really good start for him."

The A's acquired Bailey from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, hoping he would bolster their starting rotation, which has been decimated by injuries and Frankie Montas' PED suspension. So far, so good.

 

"They're so welcoming," Bailey said of his new teammates. "Just from top to bottom, it's been a good experience so far."

Last season was a rough one for Bailey, who finished with a 1-14 record and a 6.09 ERA in Cincinnati. This year didn't start much better, as his first 12 starts with the Royals resulted in a 6.05 ERA.

But it appears that something has clicked since then. In his last seven starts, Bailey is 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA.

"It's a combination of things," Bailey said of the turnaround. "It's a team effort, it's good defense, it's a catcher being invested in what you're doing, it's communication between yourself and a pitching coach. It's a lot of things."

Bailey threw 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes, using a variety of pitches along the way. His variety impressed his new manager. 

"He's got a really good split," Melvin said. "I didn't realize how good it was. And then as the game went along, he started using his slider and curveball a little bit more. He does have a true four-pitch mix."

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For the season, Bailey is now 8-6 with a 4.69 ERA. If he can perform anywhere near as well as he did on Wednesday, the A's should be in good shape. It certainly helps when the offense provides 10 runs on six homers.

"That's obviously a comfort, the fact that they can score so many runs," Bailey said. "But I feel like what makes winning teams and what probably helps these guys is not just their offensive production, but they play both sides of the baseball. ... To see the way that they play both sides of the ball and the energy that they bring for the entire game is really spectacular."