The Seattle Mariners’ wild-card chances were on the verge of vanishing before the team received a visit from the Oakland Athletics. Seattle snapped its losing streak with a triumph in the series opener and look to make it two in a row when it hosts Oakland on Saturday for the middle contest of their three-game set.
The Mariners had lost five in a row to fall 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild card in the American League, with four more teams between them, before edging the Athletics 3-2 on Friday to make up one game. Mike Zunino homered during a three-run third inning to help Mike Leake pick up the win in his debut for the team after being acquired from St. Louis earlier in the week. Oakland has lost each of the first four contests on its six-game road trip and five straight away from home since winning at Baltimore on Aug. 22. Matt Joyce collected three of the Athletics’ eight hits on Friday and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.
TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jharel Cotton (7-10, 5.40 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Yovani Gallardo (5-10, 5.78)
Cotton is looking to win three straight starts for the first time in his major-league career. The 25-year-old Virgin Islander allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a triumph at Houston on Aug. 20 and limited Texas to two runs - one earned - while matching a career high with nine strikeouts en route to victory seven days later. Cotton faced the Mariners at home twice this season, giving up two runs in a win on April 22 before getting tagged for six runs and eight hits - three homers - in a loss on Aug. 9.
Gallardo is hoping a new month brings better results as he went 0-3 with a 7.46 ERA in five starts in August, losing each of his last three turns. The 31-year-old Mexican surrendered eight home runs over 25 1/3 innings in those five outings after serving up only three over 19 frames in July. Gallardo entered the season with an 0-5 career record against Oakland but is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in four turns in 2017.
1. Oakland activated OF Jake Smolinski and C Josh Phegley from the 60- and 10-day disabled lists, respectively, and recalled LHP Sam Moll and SS Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville while learning that RHP Paul Blackburn (hand) likely will miss the remainder of the season.
2. The Mariners parted ways with RHP Sam Gaviglio, who was claimed off waivers by Kansas City after going 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).
3. Seattle made a bevy of roster moves Friday, placing RHP David Phelps (elbow) on the 10-day disabled list, activating CF Jarrod Dyson and RHP Shae Simmons from the 10- and 60-day DLs, respectively, purchasing the contract of C Mike Marjama from Triple-A Tacoma and recalling RHPs Ryan Garton, Andrew Moore and Dan Altavilla from the Rainiers.
PREDICTION: Athletics 4, Mariners 2