OAKLAND The A's made a triumphant return home Friday night, and much of that was a result of Coco Crisp making a triumphant return to touching home.
Crisp has been battling allergic conjunctivitis, a form of pink eye, for the better part of two weeks. But as Oakland began its six-game O.co Coliseum quest to gain some form of a postseason berth, its dynamic leadoff hitter clearly looked to be in the pink again.
Crisp had three hits, including a homer to lead off the bottom of the first inning, and also scored three times as the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 8-2 before a crowd of 16,376 and reduced their magic number to earn a playoff spot to four.
Crisp hadn't played a full game since Sept. 15 and did not have a hit or a run scored in the past 11 games, missing eight of them altogether because of his condition. He was a late call for the starting lineup Friday night, but after successfully going through pre-game workouts, he wasted no time showing his importance to the A's.
Crisp worked a 3-2 count against Seattle starter Blake Beavan in the bottom of the first, then drilled the sixth pitch over the right field wall for his 11th homer his first since Sept. 3.
Seattle tied the game on Trayvon Robinson's solo shot against A's starter A.J. Griffin in the bottom of the second, but the A's regained the lead when Stephen Drew hit a two-run homer against Mariners starter Blake Beavan in the bottom of the third.
Crisp struck again in the fifth, leading off with a double down the left field line. The A's subsequently loaded the bases and Crisp wound up scoring on a passed ball.
The A's finally broke the game open with four-run seventh, and Crisp was in the middle of it again. He had an infield single during the rally, and wound up scoring on second baseman Dustin Ackley's errant throw to home plate on an infield grounder. Josh Donaldson ultimately had a two-run single in the inning that put the game away.
Griffin (7-1) pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four.
His evening ended after he loaded the bases in the top of the sixth on a hit, a walk and a hit by pitch. Sean Doolittle came on to get the last out of the inning, retiring Justin Smoak on a fly to right.
The win wasn't the only development boosting the A's spirits.
Brandon McCarthy stepped back on the field Friday night for the first time since he was hit in the head with a line drive on Sept. 5, a frightening injury which subsequently resulted in surgery.
McCarthy won't pitch again this season, but he said Friday night that just being cleared to be in the dugout for the A's final home stand of the season will do wonders for his psyche, and hopefully for the psyches of his teammates.