SEATTLE — A’s manager Bob Melvin talked of wanting his young players to feel the intensity of meaningful late-season baseball.
He got just that Saturday.
The A’s pulled out a 9-8 victory in 10 innings, outlasting Seattle in a back-and-forth thriller that eliminated the Mariners from postseason contention on the eve of the regular season’s conclusion.
Joey Wendle, who went 4-for-5 from the No. 9 spot, drove home the go-ahead run with a single to right off Edwin Diaz after fellow rookie Bruce Maxwell doubled to lead off the top of the 10th. Safeco Field was rocking for this game, a playoff-like atmosphere that was much different from the first two games of this series.
The intensity in the building reflected the Mariners’ urgency, and they battled back from two different deficits to eventually force extras. But A’s hitters had the answer each time, finishing with 16 hits after struggling so mightily for most of the past two weeks.
Ryan Madson pitched the final two innings to get the win, and he retired Kyle Seager on a fly out to strand the tying run at third for the last out.
Starting pitching report
Robinson Cano’s two-run homer to center drove A’s starter Jharel Cotton from the game in the fifth. It was the first time in five major league starts that the rookie didn’t go at least five innings. He was trying to become just the third pitcher since 1913 to go at least five innings and give up one earned run or fewer in each of his first five career games. Cotton was charged with four runs (three earned). He struck out seven but he was up to 91 pitches by the time he left in the fifth.
The A’s led 7-4 before the Mariners struck for three runs off Sean Doolittle to tie it. Nori Aoki doubled, Cano singled him home with one out and Nelson Cruz followed with a towering two-run homer to center to tie it. Doolittle came in having allowed just one earned run in 17 games at Safeco Field (18 IP).
The A’s were leading once again, 8-7, in the eighth when the Mariners tied it up on Ben Gamel’s pinch-hit RBI single off Ryan Dull. Madson took a hard liner off his leg in the 10th, a shot from Nelson Cruz that ricocheted to Yonder Alonso for a crucial out, then he got Seager to end it.
At the plate
After struggling so mightily with the bats over the past 11 games, the A’s brought the offense in this one. They collected 16 hits and did a great job answering the Mariners’ scoring with runs of their own. Marcus Semien, hitting in the leadoff spot, had four hits, including a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth. Khris Davis had two RBI and connected for his 42nd homer, which moved him into a tie for sixth place on Oakland’s single-season list with Jose Canseco (1988) and Mark McGwire (1992).
In the field
A fielding error from Joey Wendle on Ketel Marte’s high chopper led to an unearned run off Cotton in Seattle’s two-run second. But center fielder Brett Eibner made a great catch at the wall of Leonys Martin’s deep drive in the fourth.
Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte leapt high to snare Ryon Healy’s scorching liner in the seventh, leaving Healy crouching in the first base line and holding his helmet in disbelief.
A crowd of 29,522 was on hand.
The A’s final game of 2016 shapes up as a great pitching matchup Sunday between rookie Sean Manaea (6-9, 3.89) and Felix Hernandez (11-7, 3.71). First pitch is 12:10 p.m.