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Kyle Seager, Ty France homer, Mariners top A’s, move up in playoff race

By Janie McCauley Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kyle Seager hit his 35th home run, Ty France also connected and the Seattle Mariners moved up in the playoff race, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-1 Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.

Seattle topped the A’s for the third day in row to pull within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees for the second AL wild card. Oakland fell 3 1/2 back of New York.

A’s manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Ryan Christenson were both ejected by plate umpire Greg Gibson in the top of the sixth during a strange sequence.

Melvin came out to seek an explanation for the lack of a foul tip call against Seattle’s Dylan Moore. Baserunner Jarred Kelenic had stolen second already, then returned to first apparently unclear about the foul tip. He was tagged out by Matt Olson but Gibson had signaled timeout — so Kelenic advanced back to second.

Melvin became furious when Christenson was tossed first trying to communicate to Melvin he had seen a foul tip, but Gibson clearly thought Christenson was yelling at him. That meant third base coach Mark Kotsay moved into the active manager role.

Chris Flexen (13-6) struck out eight and walked two, allowing one run on three hits over seven stellar innings. Diego Castillo pitched a 1-2-3 eighth then Drew Steckenrider finished for his 11th save.

Tom Murphy added an RBI single in the off Cole Irvin (10-14), who dropped to 0-4 lifetime against the Mariners with all four defeats in as many starts this year.

Matt Chapman homered in the fifth for the A’s.

Bassitt’s return

Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt promised to return to the mound by season’s end following a frightening 100 mph line drive to the face at Chicago on Aug. 17.

He will get his chance in the series finale Thursday afternoon . Bassitt underwent facial surgery Aug. 24 to repair three cheekbone fractures from the injury.

“It’s been a little bit of a torture chamber,” Bassitt said. “I’m happy to finally be back and, hopefully, help the team win.”

Immediately after he got hurt, on a ball off from Brian Goodwin’s bat in the second inning of a 9-0 loss to the White Sox, Bassitt let Melvin and the medical staff know he absolutely planned to pitch again this year.

Trainer’s room

Athletics: RHP Daulton Jefferies was examined by team orthopedist Dr. William Workman and and MRI exam showed an elbow flexor strain. He will be sidelined for 2-3 weeks. … INF Jed Lowrie is dealing with pain between the second and third bones in his right hand from an awkward swing and will be limited to hitting from the left side. … DH/1B Mitch Moreland received a cortisone shot last week in his troublesome left wrist and is rehabbing in Oakland but it’s unlikely he would play again during the regular season. … RHP Mike Fiers (sprained pitching elbow) allowed three runs — two earned — and four hits in 1 2/3 innings with no strikeouts or walks for Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday night in a rehab outing and still didn’t feel right. “He’s just had a tough year,” Melvin said. … RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who hasn’t pitched this year because of shoulder and hip issues, is set to be re-examined by the doctor who performed his hip surgery.

Up next

Bassitt (12-4, 3.22 ERA) was leading the American League in wins, innings pitched (151.0) and starts (25) at the time of his injury. Seattle will send LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-9, 4.32) to the mound seeking his first win in nine starts since beating the Rays on Aug. 3. Kikuchi is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts to three walks in his two previous starts vs. the A’s this year.