Paxton Stymies A’s for 7-2 M’s Win

July 7, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton throws against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By Matthew Harrington

James Paxton fired seven innings of two-hit baseball and Nelson Cruz hit his 300th career homerun as part of a five RBI game to hand the Seattle Mariners a 7-2 lead over the Oakland A’s “First time that ever happened to me,” Cruz said. “So that definitely was special. “That’s special,” Cruz told the Seattle Times. “I’ve come a long way. Not only what I did in baseball in the minors but from where I come from in the Dominican. Never in my dreams did I think about hitting 300 homers in the big leagues.”

Paxton (7-3) outdueled Sean Manaea (7-5) who hurled seven innings of three run ball, striking out three while surrendering eight hits. Marcus Semien knocked in both Oakland runs. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Manaea effort’s was there but for one double play ball that was miscued extended the inning, “I’ll tell you what, he gave us seven innings when it didn’t look like he might give us four, and he really should have given up one run,” Melvin told the SF Chronicle.

The Mariners singled Manaea to defeat, using back-to-back-to-back singles to give Cruz his first RBI on a run-scoring basehit in the bottom of the first. Though Semien would knock in a pair in the top half of the third inning, a trio of singles would give Cruz another RBI with one out. The next batter, Mitch Haniger would single to load the bases. Kyle Seager’s sacrifice fly would give the M’s a 3-2 edge.

The A’s wouldn’t manage another hit for the rest of the game, struggle to solve Paxton and a trio of relievers. Cruz would take Liam Hendriks deep for three runs in the top of a rocky eighth inning that also saw Seager hit another sacrifice fly for the 7-2 decision.

The A’s will call on Chris Smith to make the Saturday start in place of the injured Jharel Cotton. This would be the 36 year old’s first career star. He is opposed by Andrew Moore, a rookie righty for Seattle.

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