SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners won for the 10th time in 11 games and stayed in the thick of the AL wild-card race with a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Ty France’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning gave Seattle the lead and Abraham Toro added some cushion with his first home run since Aug. 31 with two outs in the eighth inning.
Seattle stayed a half-game behind Boston for the second wild-card slot and is 1½ games behind New York for the top spot, trying to end a 20-year drought since last reaching the postseason. The Mariners have an off day on Thursday before starting their final series of the regular season at home against the Los Angeles Angles.
Seattle won its 12th straight game over Oakland, the longest win streak over a single team in franchise history, and in the process eliminated the A’s from postseason contention. The A’s had reached the playoffs in three straight years and six of the past nine.
The Mariners also delayed Houston from clinching the AL West for at least one more day. The Astros’ magic number stayed at one.
France’s sacrifice fly drove in Dylan Moore, who moved into scoring position thanks to a perfectly executed hit-and-run by J.P. Crawford. While France barely missed a home run, Toro’s drive carried over the wall for his 11th of the season.
It was a window into Seattle’s promising future that set the stage for the late surge.
Rookie Logan Gilbert allowed one run in 5⅔ innings in the biggest start of his young career to date.
The 24-year-old scattered three hits, walked two and struck out four. Gilbert finished September with a 2.70 ERA in six starts.
Fellow rookie Jarred Kelenic ripped a two-run double in the sixth inning to give Seattle the lead after managing just four baserunners against Oakland starter Frankie Montas through the first five innings.
Seattle’s bullpen was again solid, with the exception of Diego Castillo (5-5) allowing a solo homer to Seth Brown in the seventh inning. Paul Sewald worked around a two-out walk in the eighth inning and Drew Steckenrider pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
Andrew Chafin (2-4) took the loss for Oakland working the seventh inning. But it was sloppy errors by second baseman Tony Kemp and shortstop Josh Harrison in the sixth inning that provided the opportunity for Kelenic to come through with the double that gave Seattle a 2-1 lead.
Kemp provided the only run off Gilbert with a homer leading off the sixth inning.
Athletics: INF Elvis Andrus underwent surgery in Arlington, Texas, to repair the broken left leg he suffered while scoring the winning run against the Astros last week. Andrus had an “internal fixation” to the fibula and a “tightrope” procedure to repair a sprain of the upper ankle. The team anticipates Andrus will be ready for the start of spring training next February. … A’s manager Bob Melvin said the team hasn’t decided if RHP Chris Bassitt will pitch in the final series against Houston.
Athletics: Oakland will close out the regular season beginning Friday night at Houston. LHP Sean Manaea (10-10, 3.94) will start the opener.
Mariners: After an off day, Seattle opens its final series on Friday night against the Angels. LHP Marco Gonzales (10-5, 4.00) is scheduled to start the opener.