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Mariners lose, but in fine shape at break


SEATTLE – Despite a 4-1 loss the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon says he’s extremely pleased with the way his team finished the first half of the season.

“That’s a good team over there,” McClendon said. “Best team in baseball and they played like it today.”

Chris Young (8-6) held the Athletics to one hit through four innings before Oakland broke through.

Sonny Gray (10-3) limited Seattle to just one unearned run and six hits over 72/3 innings. Sean Doolittle recorded four outs for his 14th save.

Seattle is 51-44 at the All-Star break, among the best records in the American League. McClendon said taking two of three from Oakland, which has the top mark in the majors, was a great way to finish the first half.

“It was a good series for us, no question about it,” McClendon said. “We picked up a game in the standings. My guys finished up the first half pretty strong. I’m very pleased with that.”

The Mariners scored in the first when James Jones singled, advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Gray and came home on a grounder by Robinson Cano.

Seattle squandered an opportunity to add to its lead in the fourth. Cano and Kyle Seager singled to put runners on the corners with no outs, but Gray worked out of the jam and fanned Dustin Ackley to strand the runners.

The A’s scored twice in the fifth. Jed Lowrie doubled with one out, Andy Parrino walked, setting up RBI singles by Craig Gentry and John Jaso.

Brandon Moss hit his 21st home run of the season into the right-field seats to extend the A’s lead to 3-1 in the sixth.

Endy Chavez singled in the Seattle eighth and advanced on a groundout. Gray intentionally walked Cano to bring Seager to the plate. Doolittle relieved and got Seager to pop out to shortstop.

Nick Punto added a solo homer off Joe Beimel in the ninth for the Athletics.

“There is a reason they have the best record in baseball,” Young said. “Sonny Gray was outstanding today and we just came up short.”