September 27, 2019 / 5:11 AM / 21 days ago

A's top King Felix, Mariners, tighten wild-card grip

EditorsNote: Minor fixes throughout

Sep 26, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners former outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) signs autographs for fans during batting practice against the Oakland Athletics while wearing a t-shirt honoring starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (not pictured) at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer and Sean Manaea pitched six strong innings as the Oakland Athletics spoiled what was likely Felix Hernandez’s final start in a Mariners uniform, defeating host Seattle 3-1 Thursday night.

The A’s (96-63) extended their lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League’s top wild-card playoff berth to a full game and moved three games ahead of the Cleveland Indians with three to play.

Hernandez, the longtime Mariners ace, is in the final season of his contract. His teammates stayed in the dugout at the start of the game as King Felix took the mound to a standing ovation.

The King’s Court cheering section down the left field line, where fans wore yellow T-shirts and flashed “K” cards each time he took the mound, spanned all three decks of the stadium and was 10,000 fans strong.

Hernandez (1-8) went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three. After each of his strikeouts, he saluted the fans in the King’s Court.

The A’s scored once in the first, helped by a rookie mistake by right fielder Kyle Lewis. With one out, Chapman walked and Matt Olson lined a single down the right field line. Chapman advanced to third on the play, but when he saw Lewis making a throw to second base, he sprinted home and scored standing up.

Hernandez got out of a bases-loaded jam, inducing Chad Pinder to ground out to short to end the inning.

With two outs in the second, Marcus Semien walked, and Chapman hit the next pitch just over the wall in right-center field, his 36th home run of the season.

Manaea (4-0), making just his fifth start of the season after shoulder surgery last year, allowed one run on four hits in six innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. Right-hander Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth for his 25th save.

The Mariners (66-93) scored their lone run in the fifth as Kyle Seager led off with a single to center and scored on Austin Nola’s double down the left field line.

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