3B Kyle Seager drove in four runs with a pair of doubles and Wade LeBlanc tossed five solid innings before faltering in the sixth as the Mariners defeated the Athletics 8-4 at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday (box). Seattle (62-54) has won eight of its past nine and moved to within 5.5 games of Texas, a 7-0 loser to Detroit, in the AL West race. The Mariners and Rangers play each other seven more times.
Seager knocked in SS Shawn O’Malley with a double in the third inning and cleared the bases with another in the sixth as Seattle extended a 4-1 lead to 7-1. LeBlanc threw one-run ball through five before ceding a two-run homer to Khris Davis, his 30th, in the sixth.
The Mariners started the day two games back of Boston in the race for the second wild card, but failed to gain ground as the Red Sox crushed Arizona 16-2.
With Zach Neal pitching for Oakland in the sixth, C Mike Zunino singled to left with one out. Neal gave way to Daniel Coulombe, who immediately walked O’Malley. After LF Nori Aoki singled to load the bases, Seager cleaned them with a double to deep center. That staked Seattle to a 7-1 lead, significant because after LeBlanc allowed the homer to Davis, Drew Storen allowed a solo shot to Brett Eibner.
The Mariners collected 12 hits and went 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position . . . Aoki batted leadoff and produced three hits. He also scored a run and drove in Seattle’s eighth tally with a single to left in the eighth inning that plated CF Leonys Martin . . . 1B Adam Lind’s homer to lead off the second, his 17th of the season, staked Seattle to a 1-0 lead . . . O’Malley, batting ninth, went 2-for-3, scored a run, drove in a run, stole a base and is hitting .255.
LeBlanc (2-0, 4.68) worked six innings and delivered a quality start, three runs on five hits with a season-high seven strikeouts and one walk. He threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes. Seattle has won six of LeBlanc’s seven starts . . . After Storen worked the seventh, Arquimedes Caminero tossed an unblemished eighth with two strikeouts, although the A’s made some noise by getting two runners aboard before Caminero punched out PH Yonder Alonso to end the frame . . . Nick Vincent allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth.
“It was a big day for Seager and Aoki, and we had another Shawn O’Malley sighting. Wade kept us right there. We got a cushion for him and he got us through six. It was a nice win for us. Our club is coming together and our offense picked us up today.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
“The execution was there and the game plan was there. I missed on two pitches (both home run balls) but we scored more runs than they did.” — LeBlanc.
“My job is to get on base and let guys like Kyle Seager do damage. That’s what happened today and it’s a fun way to win.” — O’Malley
The Mariners, 16-8 over their past 24, are 21-25 vs. the AL West, 12-12 vs. the division on the road (29-29 overall on the road) and 19-12-7 in overall series . . . Seattle is 7-5 against Oakland (5-1 at the Coliseum) . . . The Mariners scratched OF Seth Smith from the lineup after he had a foot contusion (a pitch was fouled off his foot) Saturday night in the seventh inning. The Mariners replaced Smith with Dae-Ho Lee . . . Servais said he expects to start LHP James Paxton Tuesday against the Angels in Anaheim. It will mark Paxton’s first start since he took a line drive off his left elbow more than a week ago.
The Mariners start a four-game set against the Angels in Anaheim Monday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Felix Hernandez (6-4, 3.39) will throw opposite RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-9, 5.14). The Mariners return to Safeco Field Friday for a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers, who will be making their first Safeco visit since 2013.