M’s 3 run third holds up in 4-2 win over A’s; Oakland two games back in Wild Card

Seattle Mariners Kyle Seager belts a two run double in the third inning against Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea at T Mobile Field in Seattle on Mon Sep 20, 2021 in the first of a four game series (AP News photo)

Seattle 4 – 10 – 0

Oakland 2 – 7 – 0

By Lewis Rubman

Monday September 20, 2021

OAKLAND–Tonight, the A’s opened their current, final home stand of the 202 1 season, a skein of seven games against Seattle and Houston, knowing full well that each contest will be vital to their chances of surviving to play in the post season.

Fangraphs gives them a razor thin chance of 1.5% of seizing the division crown out of the faltering hands of the Atros. Their chances of winning the wild card game go up to 8.5%. (Houston’s chances are rated at 0.5, but that’s because the folks at Fangraphs don’t think that they’ll have to participate in that particular crap shoot). They’ve got a 10% shot at making the playoffs.

Oakland’s out of division rivals, the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees all have better chances than Oakland of getting past the wild card stage, ranging from 28.9% for the Bronx Bombers to 88.8% for the Box, with Toronto at 70.6%. Seattle, going into the fray two games behind the green and gold, may well finish higher than the home town when all is said and done, but Fangraphs still gives them only a 0.8% shot at a necessary but not sufficient wild card win.

Tonight’s results, a. 4-2 win for the M´s, featured a masterly pitching performance by journey man starter Tyler Anderson and bought his team to within one game of A’s in the battle for second place in the AL West.

The Mariners opened the scoring in the top of the third. Tom Murphy hit Manaea’s first offering on the frame to the center field wall, where Starling Marte corralled it in front of the 400 foot marker for the first out. Dylan Moore, JP Crawford, and Ty France followed with sharply hit singles that brought Moore, the number nine batter, around to record the game’s first tally.

A 3-2 walk to Mitch Haniger clogged the basepaths with clean-up hitter Kyle Seager at the plate. He blasted a double to the Rickey Henderson Field sign in left center, driving in Crawford and France while Haniger advanced to third. Drawing strength from adversity, Manaea struck out Luis Torres and got Abraham Toro out on a fly to Canha in left. But the A’s southpaw had seen his pitch count jump from 23 at the end of the second inning to 57 when the Athletics returned to the dugout facing a three run deficit.

Oakland responded to the challenge in their half of the third with back to back doubles by Chad Pinder and Khris Davis, cutting Seattle’s lead to 3-1. Elvis Andrus’s sacrifice bunt to the mound moved Davis over to third, where he was stranded when Marte grounded out to short, making the A’s center fielder 0 for his last 17.

Haniger banged a 92 mph sinker off the Kaiser Permanente sign in right center with one down in the fifth for his second two bagger of the night. Seager’s line drive single to right center brought Haniger with the fourth Mariner run, but Pinder’s throw to Andrus caught the Seattle third sacker trying to stretch his hit into a double. Manaea then made a nice play, going to his right to snatch Luis Torrens’ bouncer and throw the DH out a first, but he didn’t come out to pitch the sixth. That task fell to Domingo Acvedo.

In his five innings of work, the A’s starter surrendered four runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk. He struck out one Mariner and threw 86 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Acevedo pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a one out double to Crawford in the seventh but nothing else. Sam Moll, recalled yesterday from Las Vegas, replaced him for the eighth.

After throwing seven innings of one run, four hit ball, Anderson was replaced by Diego. Castillo. Seattle’s starter struck out seven and walked one. 66 of his 91 pitches were strikes. The single tally he allowed was earned.

Castillo got Jed Lowrie, hitting for Davis, out on a fly to center, Andrus and Harrison delivered back to back singles to right, and Marte, breaking an 0 for 18 slump, singled the former home while the latter stopped at second. That ended Castillo’s brief outing and brought Paul Sewald into the game to pitch to Olson.

Home plate umpire Rob Drake called him out on an 0-2 slider, much to the displeasure of many of the 4,068 fans in attendance. He then got Chapman out, swinging and missing on an 0-2 93 mph four seamer.

Deolis Guerra came on for the ninth, hoping to keep the score at 4-2 and give Oakland a reasonable chance of a ninth inning comeback. He set the M’s down in order.

Sewald stayed in the game to face Tony Kemp, pinch hitfor Gomes. He flew out to right. Next in line was Canha, who popped out to first. Seth Brown batted for Pinder who took a called third strike over the outside corner.

Anderson got the well earned win, bringing his record to 7-9, 4.01. Manaea took the loss and now stands at 10-10, 4.05. Sewald earned his ninth save of the year.

The A’s will try to resume their winning ways Tuesday at 6:40, with Paul Blackburn (1-2,4.94) taking the mound against Marco González (8-5,4,95).

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