Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz power Mariners to victory 6-3 in sweep over A’s in the two-game series

Seattle Mariners’ Nelson Cruz drops his bat as he hits a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

by Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND- The Seattle Mariners beat the A’s 6-3 Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum to sweep the brief two-game Series. The A’s starter, Jharel Cotton, has been having a tough go of it this year. He has been inconsistent and has been sent down to Nashville a couple of times, too. Also, he had a short stint on the 10-day DL due to blisters on his right hand. Cotton performed well last year after he came over to the A’s in the trade with the Dodgers for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. He just hasn’t found the mojo that he had last year, and his record fell to 5-9, and his ERA, which was 5.48 at the start of the game is now 5.72. The Mariners’ starter Yovani Gallardo has also struggled this year. Gallardo was demoted to the Mariners’ bullpen earlier, but due to injuries to Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, the Mariners put him back in the starting rotation. Neither pitcher had a stellar outing on Wednesday. Gallardo lasted just 4, and 1/3rd innings and Cotton left the game after going six not so good innings.  The hitting stars for the Mariners were Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz.

The Mariners did not waste any time as they scored three runs on five hits in the very first inning. Mariners’ shortstop Jean Segura led off with s single. Cotton retired Yonder Alonso who was making his second start in a Mariner uniform. Alonso received a warm welcome from the A’s fans for the second game in a row. Alonso failed to get a hit his first time at bat. Robinson Cano followed with a single to put men on at first and second with one out. Cotton retired the ever-dangerous Nelson Cruz for the second out. He did not get out of the jam as Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager clobbered his 17th round tripper of the year to give Seattle a 3-0 advantage before the A’s came to bat. The A’s, in the bottom of the inning, put one on the board when Matt Joyce led off the frame with a solo dinger. For Joyce, it was his fifteenth of the campaign, and the A’s trailed 3-1 after the first inning.

Cotton had a better second inning. He retired the Mariners in order and needed just seven pitches to record the outs. He threw twenty-four in the first inning. However, in the third inning, the Mariners scored twice to take a 5-1 lead. Robinson Cano singled and scored when Nelson Cruz, who loves to feast on Oakland A’s pitching, blasted a 450-foot home run that went deep into the left field seats. The A’s cut the deficit to three when Khris Davis hit a solo homer to center field just left of the 388-foot marker. For “Krush” it was his 31st of the year.

Nelson Cruz hit another homer in the fifth. Seattle owns a 6-2 advantage, and Cruz now has twenty-six homers and his second multi-homer game in 2017. In the bottom half of the fifth,  Oakland plated their third and final run of the day. Matt Joyce singled and scored when Jed Lowrie sliced a double down the left field line to drive in Joyce. The Mariners manager Scott Servais removed Gallardo from the game. He went 4 and one- third innings and he allowed six hits, three runs, and gave up two homers. He threw 98 pitches. The Mariners bullpen, as they did Tuesday night, shut down the A’s offense the rest of the way and allowed just one hit and no runs as they secured the win for Seattle.

Game Notes – The A’s bullpen did a good job for Bob Melvin on Wednesday. Simon Castro retired the Mariners in order in the seventh and Josh Smith, who was the losing pitcher Tuesday night, went two innings and did not allow a hit or a run. The pitching line for Cotton was six innings pitched, eight hits, and six runs.

The Mariner bullpen of Emilio Pagan, Tony Zych, and Edwin Diaz allowed just one hit and no runs after Gallardo was removed. Zych received credit for his 11th hold, and Diaz recorded his 25th save.

The Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals were all tied for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. With the win, the Mariners now own a half-game lead over both teams.

The A’s welcome the Baltimore Orioles to the Coliseum for a four-game series starting Thursday night. Lefty Wade Miley( 5-9, ERA 5.51) will pitch for the Orioles, and the A’s have not announced who will start for the home team.

Time of game was two hours and fifty-eight minutes and 14,989 fans watched the MAriners down the A’s.

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