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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Andres Muñoz leaves games after collision in 9th, Mariners hold on to beat A’s

By Adam Jude Seattle Times

OAKLAND, Calif. – As oh-no moments go, this was about as alarming as it gets for the Seattle Mariners in early June.

Mariners closer Andres Muñoz, after a collision at the plate, had to leave the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Oakland’s tying run at second base.

Muñoz had thrown a wild pitch that allowed Max Schuemann to score from third base on a play at the plate, during which Muñoz appeared to get his right ankle caught underneath the sliding runner.

After one warmup pitch, Muñoz walked off the field with team trainer Kevin Orloski.

Mariners reliever Tayler Saucedo, trying to protect a one-run lead, came on as an injury replacement and walked Oakland’s JJ Bleday, putting runners at first and second for cleanup hitter Brent Rooker.

But Saucedo got Rooker to ground out back to the pitcher, and the Mariners survived for a 4-3 victory before an announced crowd of 5,624 at Oakland Coliseum.

The Mariners are doing what they’re supposed to do against teams at the bottom of the division.

In turn, they are climbing higher in the AL West than they’ve been in decades.

After completing a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, the Mariners rolled along in Oakland by continuing their domination of the A’s.

Coupled with the Texas Rangers’ loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Mariners (35-27) extended their lead to 5½ games atop the division.

That marks the Mariners’ largest lead in the AL West at any point in any season since Aug. 15, 2003.

J.P. Crawford, Josh Rojas, Ty France and Luke Raley all doubled in a three-run third inning off A’s starter Mitch Spence, and the Mariners beat the A’s for the 15th time in their past 17 meetings


France’s double was a 101.1-mph rocket that one-hopped the wall in center field, and it drove in Crawford and Rojas for the game’s first two runs.

Raley followed with a bouncing ball up the first-base line, just fair into the right-field corner, to score France from second to make it 3-0.

The Mariners made it 4-0 in the fourth inning. Dylan Moore led off with a single, stole second and scored on Rojas’ two-out infield single.

M’s starter George Kirby, cruising early, labored through his final three innings. He completed five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk on 94 pitches.

Kirby exited with runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth inning, after Rooker was awarded a double on a line drive that bounced in and out of Raley’s glove in deep left field.

The A’s got within 4-2 after Shea Langeliers’ RBI groundout, and then put two runners in scoring position before Mariners reliever Austin Voth got Zack Gelof to ground out to end the threat.

Ryne Stanek worked a scoreless seventh inning for the Mariners, and Trent Thornton managed to work through a shaky eighth inning, stranding the tying run at first base.