EditorsNote: Added missing word in lede graf — “a key American League West showdown”; Corrects
Ben Gamel and Jean Segura combined for five hits and four RBIs on Saturday night, helping the Seattle Mariners run off to a big lead en route to an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics in a key American League West showdown in Oakland, Calif.
By virtue of their second victory in three days in the four-game series, the Mariners (76-60) moved within 4 1/2 games of the A’s (81-56) in the duel for the second AL wild-card spot.
The loss dropped Oakland 2 1/2 games behind first-place Houston (83-53) in the AL West.
The Mariners foiled A’s manager Bob Melvin’s plan to substitute reliever Liam Hendriks (0-1) for scheduled starter Daniel Mengden by scoring twice in the second inning. Gamel greeted reliever Danny Coulombe with a two-run double after Hendriks had walked Denard Span and given up a hit to Ryon Healy.
Mengden entered the game in the third inning and was not sharp, victimized as much by a shoddy Oakland defense as hits by Span, Healy and Kyle Seager in a three-run third.
Segura added a two-run single in the fifth to make it 8-1, after which the Mariners barely hung on for just the second win in their past six games.
Down 8-3, the A’s rallied within one run in the eighth when Khris Davis hit a solo homer and Marcus Semien, aided by an error on left fielder Span, belted a bases-clearing double off Mariners closer Edwin Diaz.
Diaz then struck out Matt Chapman to end the eighth with the potential tying run at second base. He wrapped up his 51st save with three straight strikeouts after walking Jed Lowrie to open the ninth.
James Paxton (11-5), returning from a bruised left forearm that landed him on the disabled list, went the first five innings, allowing three runs on just two hits. He walked four and struck out 10.
Segura finished with three hits and two RBIs, while Gamel had two of each for the Mariners, who took a 9-6 lead over the A’s in the season series.
Healy chipped in with two hits, and Span scored twice for Seattle.
Davis hit his 40th homer of the season. Mark Canha also homered, his 15th, and drove in three runs for the A’s, who have lost four of their past six games.
Hendriks, making his first start since 2014, was charged with two runs on two hits in 1 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.
—Field Level Media