SEATTLE (AP) — After the most successful month in franchise history, the Seattle Mariners might prefer if August just never ended and rolled right into October.
“There's like 60 days in August isn't there? I wish there was,” manager Scott Servais quipped. “What a month.”
What a month indeed,. The Mariners closed out the winningest month in team history by beating the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Wednesday and moving back into sole possession of the AL West lead.
J.P. Crawford dropped a two-run single into left field in the seventh inning to put Seattle ahead, and the Mariners rallied from a pair of deficits.
Seattle went 21-6 in the month, bettering the previous franchise record of 20 victories in a month. The Mariners have won 13 of their last 15 games and will head into September in the middle of an AL West title race with Houston and Texas. The Mariners are one percentage point ahead of the Astros, with the Rangers one game back.
The last time Seattle went into September with at least a share of first place was 2001, also the last time the Mariners won the AL West.
“Twenty-one wins in a month and there was a really special team here that won 116 games one year and they didn't even do that,” Servais said, referencing Seattle's 2001 team that had four months of 20 victories during that record-setting season.
Teoscar Hernández capped his hot month with a three-run homer in the third inning — his 23rd of the season — that erased an 3-0 deficit. But it was Crawford who came through after Seattle fell behind 4-3.
The Mariners’ rally in the seventh inning came off reliever Kirby Snead (1-2), who had not allowed an earned run in his previous 10 appearances. Dominic Canzone doubled, Mike Ford singled and Dylan Moore walked to load the bases.
Following a strikeout, Crawford hit a soft liner the opposite way to score a pair and give Seattle the lead. Crawford is 7 for 11 this season when hitting with the bases loaded.
“J.P. is going to put the ball in play and he’s not going to try to do too much in those spots,” Servais said. “He’s learned that through the years and I think it’s a great example for our younger players to look at.”
Justin Topa (4-4) got the victory despite giving up the lead in the seventh. Aledmys Díaz lined a ground-rule double down the left field line and Esteury Ruiz followed with his own double that barely eluded the dive of Eugenio Suárez at third base. Pinch-runner Nick Allen scored easily and Oakland had a 4-3 lead.
Oakland tried to add on but Ruiz was thrown out at home plate by Hernández attempting to score on Ryan Noda’s flyout to right field. It was Hernández’s 12th assist this season, most among AL outfielders.
Ruiz was initially ruled safe but the call was overturned on replay.
“I was surprised when he was called safe but I know I made a really, really good throw I'm glad they overturned it,” Hernández said.
Matt Brash worked through the eighth, striking out pinch-hitter Tony Kemp to end the inning with Brent Rooker standing at third as the tying run. Andrés Muñoz pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 14 chances.
Oakland scored three times in the second inning off Bryce Miller, including Lawrence Butler’s two-run homer and Noda’s RBI single. Miller threw six innings, allowing seven hits and struck out five.
“For Butler, today was a good day. Saw him pull the ball the other way, saw him pull a homer. We’ve heard a lot about his ability to drive the baseball. It showed again today,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said.
Seattle’s three-run outburst in the third inning came with two outs and was the only damage against Zach Neal, who allowed three hits in five innings and struck out six.
Athletics: RHP Freddy Tarnok underwent right hip surgery on Wednesday. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training next season.
Mariners: CF Julio Rodríguez missed his second straight game with a sore left foot. Rodríguez was a late scratch before Tuesday’s game after developing nerve issue in the foot. Servais said postgame he hopes Rodríguez will be back in the lineup sometime during the series in New York against the Mets ... RHP George Kirby will slot back into the rotation sometime during Seattle’s upcoming series against the Mets. Kirby was the scheduled starter Tuesday but was scratched due to illness.
Athletics: Following a day off, the A’s will open a series at home against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. LHP JP Sears (2-11, 4.80) will start the opener against LHP Patrick Sandoval (7-10, 3.95) for the Angels.
Mariners: After an off day, Seattle opens a 10-game trip at the New York Mets on Friday. Seattle has not set its rotation for the series.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb