SEATTLE — At this point of the season, the Seattle Mariners will take wins any way they can to stay in the AL wild-card race.
Jean Segura raced home from third base on a wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Mariners rallied from a four-run deficit for a 7-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
Seattle won its second straight to get back to .500 for the season (68-68) and remained 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild card. The winning run capped a big night for Segura, who had two doubles and his eighth homer of the season.
“For me, the way Jean Segura played tonight, that’s the Jean Segura that we saw early in the year,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He was aggressive on the bases, he was driving the ball, made great plays at shortstop. He’s looking to score that winning run if the ball gets away from the catcher. That’s the way he needs to play and we’re a different club when he plays that way.”
Seattle pulled even at 6-all when Mike Zunino hit a two-out solo home run to right-center field in the eighth inning off Oakland reliever Chris Hatcher. Zunino drove an 0-1 pitch to the gap and watched it barely disappear over the wall for his 21st homer of the season.
Segura opened the ninth with a chopper to first that Matt Olson could not handle, his second error of the game. Yonder Alonso followed with a single to right off Oakland’s Blake Treinen (1-2) and Segura raced to third putting runners at the corners with no outs.
Robinson Cano was walked to load the bases, but Treinen struck out Nelson Cruz struck out and got Kyle Seager to pop out. Mitch Haniger stepped in and Treinen’s first pitch bounced away from catcher Bruce Maxwell but not far enough for Segura to advance. But the second pitch did get through Maxwell far enough that Segura was able to score.
“I just didn’t get my glove down in time. It’s on me,” Maxwell said.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run home run in the third inning for Seattle, his first long ball since July 22. Segura and Alonso added back-to-back solo homers in the fifth inning off Oakland starter Jharel Cotton.
“It feels good not because I hit a homer but because we came back and won this game,” Cano said.
Edwin Diaz (3-5) worked the ninth to get the victory. Diaz was wild to start the ninth, walking Matt Joyce on four pitches, before striking out Jed Lowrie and Davis. Ryon Healy had a two-out single but Olson fouled out to end the threat.
Joyce hit a three-run homer, his 21st of the season, as part of Oakland’s four-run fourth inning. Maxwell added his third homer of the season with a solo shot in the second inning and Khris Davis continued to torment Seattle pitching with his fifth home run this season against the Mariners and his 37th overall.
Oakland lost its fifth straight.
“The bullpen really did a good job. We used a lot of guys to try to get through that game,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “But also, you know, it would behoove us to try to add on a run or two as well.”
Marco Gonzales was excellent working out of the bullpen for the first time since joining the Mariners. Gonzales pitched four innings, allowing two hits and struck out five. Gonzales’ effort allowed Seattle the time to rally.
“(He) really saved the day. He deserved the win in that game,” Servais said.
Seattle pitchers James Paxton and Felix Hernandez are expected to throw their second bullpen sessions early next week as they continue their recovery from injuries. Paxton (pectoral) threw a 27-pitch bullpen on Saturday and will throw another on Tuesday. If all goes well after the second session, he’ll throw a simulated game and likely be reinserted into Seattle’s rotation after that. Hernandez (shoulder) is on a similar schedule with a second bullpen session on Monday and a simulated game tentatively scheduled for next Friday.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (3-7) will make his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 23. Gossett is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his two starts since coming back up.
Mariners: LHP Andrew Albers (2-1) makes his fourth since being acquired by Seattle. Albers was knocked around for 11 hits in five innings in his last start against the New York Yankees.