Shortly after learning that they’d clinched their first playoff spot since 2014, the Oakland Athletics went out and overpowered the host Seattle Mariners 7-3 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.
The clincher for the A’s came when the New York Yankees (96-60) earned a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay (87-69), formally knocking the Rays out of contention for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
The A’s (95-62) can still earn the first wild card — and the home-field advantage in the single-elimination playoff game that comes with it — by finishing ahead of the Yankees.
The Yankees finish with three more games at Tampa Bay and then three at Boston. The A’s, meanwhile, have two remaining games at Seattle before wrapping up the regular season with three at the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland trails New York by 1 1/2 games.
The A’s used four home runs to turn back the Mariners in the series opener, with Matt Chapman connecting on the most important blast, a tiebreaking, two-run shot off Shawn Armstrong (0-1) in the seventh inning. It was Chapman’s 24th homer of the season.
Jonathan Lucroy (No. 4), Jed Lowrie (No. 22) and Khris Davis (No. 46) had hit earlier solo shots to account for Oakland’s first three runs.
The A’s added two insurance runs in the eighth on Matt Olson’s RBI single and Marcus Semien’s sacrifice fly.
Ryan Buchter (5-0), who relieved A’s starter Daniel Mengden in the sixth inning, was credited with the win after pitching two-thirds of an inning, allowing one hit.
Robinson Cano opened the game’s scoring with a solo homer, his 10th of the season, in the first inning. After the first three Oakland homers, Dee Gordon drew the Mariners even at 3-3 in the sixth with a two-run shot, knocking in Mike Zunino, who had doubled.
The homer was Gordon’s fourth of the year.
Mengden was pulled after 5 1/3 innings, having allowed three runs and four hits. He walked one and struck out five.
Mariners left-hander James Paxton worked the first four innings, charged with two runs and three hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Lucroy scored twice and had two hits for the A’s, who improved to 8-9 against the Mariners this season.
Zunino collected two hits and Gordon had two RBIs for the Mariners (85-71), who lost their second straight.
—Field Level Media