OAKLAND -- It was a weird, wet and wobbly first homestand for the A's, and early on Sunday, it looked as if it would wrap up pretty shabbily.

Sonny Gray had command issues and was over 50 pitches before he got an out in the third inning. First baseman Daric Barton made a costly error in the second that resulted in two runs. Yoenis Cespedes was thrown out on a bizarre steal attempt at third base that manager Bob Melvin called "a miscommunication," killing a rally in the bottom of the second.

But a three-run home run by Brandon Moss in the bottom of the third changed everything, and the A's boarded a plane to Minneapolis on Sunday evening feeling pretty good about themselves after a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners before a healthy Little League Day crowd of 32,852 at the Coliseum.

The A's finished the first homestand 3-3.

"It could have been better, but it also could have been worse," Moss said. "It was an odd week with all the rainouts and not hitting and this and that. It definitely feels weird. It feels like it was more than a week with all the time down we've had, but you go through that sometimes."

Oakland should take strength from the fact that it achieved a lot of key firsts in its getaway game. Moss' homer was his first of the year, and it was a huge one that erased a 3-0 deficit. Cespedes overcame his baserunning blunder to hit his first homer, a mammoth shot to right-center in the eighth that also was the 50th of his career.

Josh Donaldson snapped an 0-for-20 slump -- the longest dry spell of his career -- with an infield single that delivered the go-ahead run in a two-run fifth inning rally. Eric Sogard not only got his first hit but also got three of them, including a double.

Sam Fuld got his first start in right field for struggling Josh Reddick and was Reddick-like defensively, throwing out the Mariners' Abraham Almonte with a laser to third base and then making an airborne lay-out catch of a Logan Morrison gap shot in the eighth. Finally, embattled new closer Jim Johnson earned his first save with a scoreless ninth, even though he allowed a hit and a walk.

As for Gray (1-0), the 24-year-old finally found his groove and was fairly brilliant over the final three innings of his six-inning outing, allowing just one scratch single and retiring the last seven men he faced.

"When Moss hit that three-run home run, that really helped me get going and gave me a jump start to get deeper into the game," he said.

Melvin said Gray's recovery was a good indicator of what the A's have in their young right-hander.

"He's a battler, and for a young guy, that's something you don't see often," he said. "It'd be easy to throw in the towel and say it's not your day when you're not throwing the kind of quality strikes early on, and the ball-strike ratio is a little farther off than it normally is. But he fought back. That's why we have such faith in him."

The A's gave Johnson a three-run cushion to pitch the ninth, and afterward, it was tough to tell who was happier, the new closer or his teammates.

"Obviously, it was nice to get that first one, because it's been awhile, a lot longer than it should have been," Johnson said. "Hopefully, it'll be off to the races now."

Johnson was booed mercilessly after blowing the home opener as well as a save situation in the team's third game. Clearly, a number of the players were unhappy with his reception.

"That was a shame the way they did him the first couple of nights," said Moss. "Everybody loved Balf (Grant Balfour), and we understand he was a fan favorite, but Jim Johnson is our closer, and a guy gives up a couple hits and the crowd's booing him. ... I was pretty disappointed in our fans for that, but they got behind him today as they should."

  • Ryan Cook said he felt great despite giving up a two hits, a walk and two runs for Class A Stockton on Saturday night and felt he was ready to be activated. But Melvin said the A's will hold off and perhaps give Cook another outing before they bring him onto the current trip.

    The same goes for outfielder Craig Gentry (back strain), who will have a couple of more rehab starts. The A's will face a difficult roster move, more than likely between Barton and Fuld, when Gentry is ready to go.

  • Tommy Milone pitched against minor league hitters in Arizona on Sunday. He will join the team in Minnesota and make his first start next weekend in Seattle.

    Monday's game
    A's (Scott Kazmir 1-0) at Minnesota (Kevin Correia 0-0), 1:10 p.m. CSNCA