As he has done so many times in his career, Felix Hernandez dominated matters in the Oakland Coliseum Saturday, spreading six hits over six innings in leading the Mariners to a 14-3 rout of the Athletics (box). Seattle (74-68) has won four consecutive games, five of its past six, and remains within 3.5 games of Detroit and Baltimore for the second wild card slot.
As the Mariners pounded out 17 hits, batting around twice and erupting for four runs in the third inning and six more in the seventh, Hernandez recorded his 12th victory (12-3 in 24 career starts) in Oakland, tying him with Tommy John for the most by a visiting player in the Coliseum.
After the Mariners pulled ahead 2-0 in the first on a Robinson Cano double-play ball (Nori Aoki scored) and Kyle Seager’s RBI single, they added four more in the third on Nelson Cruz’s two-run double, a swinging bunt RBI single by Jesus Sucre and Ben Gamel’s fielder’s choice that plated Cruz. That staked Hernandez to a 6-0 lead.
The Mariners’ 17 hits, were two shy of the season high at Toronto July 23 . . . Leadoff hitter Aoki went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored, and Cruz also had three hits (3-for-4, three RBIs, two runs scored) . . . Robinson Cano went 0-for-3 but has reached base in 14 consecutive games . . . The Mariners also received multi-hit games from Seth Smith (2-for-4), Kyle Seager (2-for-4), Sucre (2-for-4), Ben Gamel (2-for-4) and Ketel Marte (2-for-4) . . . Seager’s home run was his 28th. He has 92 RBIs . . . The Mariners went 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left five on base.
Hernandez fanned two and walked one among his 91 pitches, 55 for strikes, in improving to 11-5, 3.58. Hernandez has won four of its past five starts . . . Drew Storen pitched one inning in relief and gave up Oakland’s first run on two hits and an error . . . The Mariners activated RHP Tom Wilhelmsen from the 15-day DL Saturday and added him to the active roster, which has 32 players. Wilhelmsen worked the eighth inning and gave up a two-run homer to Ryon Healy (three-hit game). Wilhelmsen had been out since Aug. 26 with back spasms . . . Vidal Nuno closed out with a perfect ninth.
“We had outstanding offense today against a guy (Kendall Graveman) who has been throwing pretty well. Our timing and rhythm were good and we had a lot of good at-bats. That’s really good to see. Felix got on a roll and kept them off balance. When you give him a lead like that, he’s not going to let that slip away.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
“The first inning I was a little wild, but I made good pitches after that and was not too quick to the plate. The offense picked it up and that’s good for us.” — Hernandez
The Mariners, 6-3 in their past nine, are 9-5 vs. Oakland this season, including 7-1 at the Oakland Coliseum . . . Seattle has won 10 of the last 11 in the Coliseum . . . The Mariners are 29-33 vs. the AL West, 22-16-8 in overall series and 34-37 on the road.
The final game of the three-game series is Sunday at 1:05 p.m. LHP James Paxton (4-6, 4.03), who has won both of his career starts against Oakland, will throw opposite RHP Paul Alcantara (0-1, 15.00). Alcantara tied a major league record with three hit batters in the first inning against the Angels Sept. 5. The Mariners begin a three-game series at the Angels Monday in Anaheim.