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Mariners use long ball to beat A’s

By Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – Robinson Cano, Kendrys Morales and Logan Morrison homered, and the Mariners beat Oakland 4-2 on Friday night to pull within a half-game of the Athletics for the top spot in the A.L. wild card chase.

Oakland has seen nearly all of its wild card lead disappear, going 3-12 over its last 15 games. Kansas City and Seattle are tied.

Cano hit his 13th homer in the first inning and Morrison added his eighth in the fifth inning, both off Jason Hammel (10-11). Morales hit a line drive out to right-center field off Eric O’Flaherty in the sixth.

Seattle starter James Paxton (6-2) pitched six innings despite control trouble. Paxton walked three batters in the third inning alone, but struck out eight and three times left runners stranded in scoring position.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 45th save despite giving up a pair of singles to open the inning. Rodney tied Kazuhiro Sasaki’s franchise record for saves in a season.

Cano’s homer skimmed the top of the left-field wall and gave Seattle a 1-0 lead. Morrison’s drive curled inside the right-field foul pole, breaking a 2-2 tie. Morrison’s homer came at the same time fireworks erupted across the street at CenturyLink Field when the Seattle Sounders scored in their MLS match with Real Salt Lake.

 Seattle also got a bloop RBI double from Mike Zunino that A’s left fielder Jonny Gomes appeared to lose in the lights.

Hammel was lifted after the fifth despite throwing just 78 pitches, partly because of issues with Oakland’s batting order. The A’s lost their designated hitter in the bottom of the third inning when Geovany Soto left with back spasms. Derek Norris took over behind the plate but the A’s lost their DH in the move.

Nate Freiman scored on Sam Fuld’s bunt to pull Oakland even at 2 in the fourth.

Billy Burns pinch hit for Hammel in the sixth and singled for his first major league hit.

Today’s game

Sonny Gray vs. Felix Hernandez: Hernandez (14-5) makes what could be his final home start of the regular season. Hernandez has at least two more road starts and could pitch the final day of the regular season at home or be held for a potential wild-card game. Hernandez is 19-7 in his career against Oakland and 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts this year.

Gray (13-8) is 1-4 with a 5.32 ERA in seven starts since Aug. 6. He is 3-0 with a 0.46 ERA in three starts at Safeco Field.

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